How do YOU handle Christmas Family Fall Outs? Here Are My Tips.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I was interviewed last year on the Vanessa Feltz Show on BBC Radio London about the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t join the Queen for Christmas as they have chose to spend baby Archie’s first festive season away from Sandringham.
Big News? None of our business ?
Well, whatever your thoughts we all face similar problems at Christmas from Auntie Mabel on the sherry to Grandad & Brexit to naviagting all the rules around tiers.
So, here are just a few of my tips to not just surviving Christmas but thriving at this season of goodwill.
While Christmas can be an exciting time, it can also be a big cause of stress for many. Christmas is indeed a prime time of year for family arguments – whether it be because of clashes in personalities or values, sibling rivalry or simply not agreeing on what to do, being cooped up in the family pressure cooker isn’t always easy.
According to Relate, 68% of people who responded to its survey expected to row over the Christmas holidays, with 39% citing Christmas Day as the mostly likely time to have a bust-up… that’s why there’s always a spike in people seeking divorces in January !
Take the pressure off yourself, don’t buy into the smiley Christmas Ads on TV and relax – focus on the bigger picture, what’s important to you and your children and remember problems don’t simply disappear because it’s Christmas.
Watch your alcohol intake. Drinking too early for too long can loosen your tongue and make you say things you will later regret. So, just be mindful of a large glass of Prosecco at 9am may not help your family dynamics!
Plan ahead – stay only for a short visit if tensions get high after a while. Tell your family that beforehand so they don’t get offended.
Be mindful of HOW you say things – watch your tone of voice and your body language – people get easily hurt or offended so it’s all in your attitude, intention and how you plan what you’re going to say and when.
Press Your Imaginary Pause Button – read more about my technique here. My Pause Button Technique is a really simple way to empower you no matter what situation they find yourself in, as it allows you to press your imaginary pause button, freeze time and consider the consequences of the actions you are about to take, before making a more informed, better choice.
Do your best to compromise – look for the middle ground and keep the bigger picture of a loving relationship long term. If your folks are older remember they won’t be around for ever.
Build happy memories for your kids that will last a lifetime. Don’t be petty and sweat the small stuff. Be gracious, patient and kind.
Mix things up a bit. Plan a Board Game or a dog walk, plan the TV shows you want to watch that are family friendly not offensive to Grandma or too rude for toddlers! Keep things moving.
Avoid ‘heavy conversations’ about politics, religion, or the meaning of life or why your sister has always been difficult! Keep things deliberately light and easy going.
Focus on what you LIKE about each person – NOT what you don’t as unconsciously we send out negative vibes if we focus on the negative. Deliberately look for the things you have in common. You’ll find them, just as you’ll find the irritating stuff if you look for that to.
If you are sharing the kids – put a photo of them on the table to remind yourself that whatever the arrangements it’s in THEIR best interest. They love your ex so make sure their memories are positive not flooded with tension and recriminations.
Christmas isn’t always a great time – for the lonely, divorced, bereaved or elderly – reach out – do something kind and don’t buy into all the media hype about how hard it is, how expensive, how stressful.
Decide how you want it to be – what memories you want to create and have fun no matter what the circumstances.