How to avoid family arguments this Christmas

16 February 2016

Christmas can be wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your family, but, as so many of us know, it can also come with a whole host of pressures and challenges.

It’s no surprise really. The hothouse environment of having lots of contrasting personalities all together indoors for long periods at a time. All the emotional and financial pressure of buying gifts and putting up decorations. And that’s to say nothing about sorting out all the food…

But Christmas doesn’t have to be an emotional obstacle course. If you’re dreading the holidays, why not try out our five tips for a more harmonious festive season?

  • Don’t expect it to be perfect. We can put way too much pressure on ourselves to have the ‘perfect Christmas’, but this kind of expectation can make everything that much more stressful. Try to accept that not everything is going to go 100% right – nor does it needs to be.
  • Break up the time. Instead of spending the whole day all cooped up together doing the same thing, you might like to try out various different activities. That way, everybody is busy and less likely to descend into boredom-based bickering. This could mean playing a board game (it can be a good idea to try one with simple rules!), watching a film or going outside for a walk.
  • Learn to adapt. It can be tough when there have been changes in the family since last year. Divorce, bereavement, people moving away – celebrations like Christmas can have a way of throwing these things into sharp relief. But just because things won’t necessarily be the same this time around, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the holidays. It may take a little time to adjust, but try to be open to accepting new traditions and new ways of doing things. That could mean having Christmas at someone else’s house, spending the day doing different things, making space for new people. Equally, if having more things to do and more people to see means it’s not possible to fit everything into one day, you might like to split things over several to make it a bit more manageable.
  • Take some time out. If all the pressure is getting too much, why not give yourself a break? This could mean taking 30 minutes to be by yourself, calling a friend to vent or just going for a walk. Although Christmas is about togetherness, there’s nothing wrong with taking a little time to be apart. And if you’re struggling to adjust to any changes that have taken place since last Christmas, it could mean taking a moment to grieve or be sad. You don’t have to stay cheerful the whole time if you don’t feel up to it.
  • Remember: It’s only one day. If it’s all getting a bit much and none of the above is helping, remember it won’t last forever! Try to look forward to getting some proper relaxing done once everything has settled down.

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