Sassone: Halloween’s over — Bury the hatchet for the holidays

Well, that’s over.

Now that Halloween has come and gone, we can start getting ready for the heavy-hitting holidays of November and December.

From now on, you’ll be bombarded with tips on how to cook for the holidays, how to decorate for the holidays, how to pay for the holidays.

But only here will you find tips for the absolute most important component of holiday enjoyment — how not to wind up at your loved ones’ throats.

Nothing is more holiday-deflating than some family member sulking or not speaking to other members. And it happens. This time of the year can bring out the worst, as well as the best, in us.

But there are ways to avoid contributing to bad holiday spirit:

Respond to invitations, dummy. Not responding is a tried-and-true recipe for creating holiday conflict. See, the way it works is that they feed you for free. All you have to do is let them know whether you are coming. I shouldn’t have to tell you stuff like this.

Like the gift you are given, even if you don’t. OK, OK, so you wanted the audio book, “Kardashian Konfidential,” but they gave you “The Complete Works of St. Augustine.” You’ll only hurt the giver’s feelings if you pout.

Eat almost to the point of, um, indelicacy. They went to a lot of trouble and expense to cook dinner for you. So when they proudly say, “I tried a new stuffing recipe this year, rye bread, kidneys and just a whisper of vanilla extract. Have some more.’’ You say, “Yum’’ and hold out your plate.

Let bygones be bygones. So, you were the oldest and had to take care of your brothers and sisters. So, you were the middle child and didn’t get the attention the first-born did. So, you were the youngest and had to make do with a hand-me-down bike. Grow up. Stop poisoning the present with long-past grievances.

Human beings are mortal. This is most important and the underlying reason behind all of the above. In 10 years, or five years, or even next year, there may be fewer people at the holiday table. And that will be painful. But even more painful will be the memory of loved ones if that memory is soured by what you too-late realize were trivial piques and resentments. Regret is not a pleasant holiday companion.

Food and gifts are ephemeral. Family is permanent. And our feelings about family are always with us. Forever.

Whether those feelings are warm or painful is up to us.

It’s something to think about as the holidays approach.

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