It’s been nearly sixty years since Bobby Helms first rang through our radios to remind us that the holidays are “the right time to rock the night away.”

More than a half-century later, we’re still rockin’ around the Christmas tree to the likes of Helms, Brenda Lee, Chuck Berry, and all the other immortals who put some sock hop in our holidays.

This year, though, we call on Valdosta families to add a little plannin’ to all that rockin’ around the tree.Family toasting at Christmas

After all, most family planning experts agree that holiday gatherings represent the very best opportunity to engage your loved ones in important conversations about the future — even if it can feel a little uncomfortable at first.

Financial magazine Main Street recently ran a column with some helpful advice for broaching a sensitive subject around the holiday ham or turkey platter. Their helpful hints include:

  • Break the ice by quoting Warren Buffet, Dave Ramsey, or another financial guru. (Or, as may very well happen this year, if someone brings up Donald Trump, that might be your chance to veer away from politics and into a more constructive discussion about your family’s future.)
  • Delicately explain why you’re having “the talk.” Explain that it’s an important conversation, that it has to happen sometime (and soon), and that it makes since to do it when all the relevant parties are in the same place.
  • Maintain a respectful tone, but leave room for levity. It’s a serious topic, but the atmosphere doesn’t have to be grave.
  • Stay focused. Don’t drag politics, family drama, or requests for a family loan into the conversation.

Of course, no one wants to spoil a holiday. Don’t force a topic that puts anyone on edge. By the same token, though, don’t give up before you’ve given it a try — many families are pleasantly surprised by just how productive these discussions can become.

One of the best ways to put your family at ease is to remind them that compassionate and confidential professionals are available to do all the heavy lifting for them. That’s what our office is here for. This holiday season, count on the experienced Valdosta advance planning attorneys at Bennett Watson Trust, Estate & Elder Law, LLC. We care about you and your loved ones and know how to create plans that work.