Tips on how to ‘keep the peace’ this Christmas

8 December 2016

We’re preparing for a peak in calls this New Year as relationship tensions between families and couples come to a head over the festive period.

Relate received a 39% increase in calls in January 2016 – a trend expected to continue.

So… here are our tips for helping to ‘keep the peace’ this Christmas:

  • Take it slowly If it is the first Christmas in a new family set-up then remember that you have to allow time for adjustments to settle in. Don’t expect everything to be ideal – manage your own expectations and disappointments.
  • Plan ahead Getting some of the jobs done ahead of time means everyone will be less stressed, and planning the festivities as a family is likely to make sure everyone feels like their hopes and expectations are being listened to. In particular, talk to your partner in advance about where you plan to spend Christmas so it’s not a shock to anyone come Christmas Eve.
  • Don’t overspend For a lot of people this Christmas money will be tight, so try not to succumb to the pressure and spend more than you can afford. Splashing the credit card on presents might be fun but getting yourself in a mountain of debt is not a good way to start the New Year. Money worries put huge strain on relationships – it’s not worth it in the long run.
  • Talk to your children If you are a single parent, talk to your child about who they want to spend time with over the holidays. Christmas is important to children but they can easily feel divided and guilty about whom they spend time with and worried in case anyone is left on their own. Do talk to your ex-partner first though to determine what they are doing. Asking the children first can lead to disappointment, and remember, depending on the age of the children, they may not be able to make such decisions.
  • Plan something special If arguments are likely over the festive period, have a few special events that everyone knows about so you have things to look forward to. It might be decorating the tree, or hanging the stockings up. The important thing is that you agree that these things will go ahead, and everyone makes the effort to get along.
  • Don’t spoil the step-kids If you have step-children staying at Christmas, do treat them like part of the family but not like special guests. Relationships take time to build and making the step-children into VIPs may appear insincere or upset your own children.
  • Go easy on the booze Many of us like to toast Christmas with a nice glass or two, but if there is any tension in your family then steer clear of too much alcohol – it will only aggravate the situation.

We offer a range of relationship support services, including couple counselling and family counselling. Call our friendly appointments team on 01234 356350 for more information.


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