Family gatherings are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you know you’re lucky because not everyone has the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with loved ones. On the other hand, there are members of your family you’d like to skewer with your salad fork.

Let’s say you have a cousin who thinks you’re a capitalist pig. You think he’s a commie dog. You’re reading Ann Coulter, he’s quoting Rachel Maddow. And let’s not even get started on Obamacare.

Phil Rainer, the chief clinical officer for Capital Counseling, said the underlying stresses of the holidays set us up for friction at family gatherings. We have an idealized image of what Christmas should be, and we’re disappointed when it doesn’t live up to the Norman Rockwell depiction. We’re worried about money and gift-buying. We feel pressure to be jolly when deep down inside, we’re not. And then we go to Aunt Linda’s house for Christmas Eve and drink too much, drop our impulse control and tell Uncle Frank he’s a freeloader.

Read the rest of this article at the Times Union