After the disappointments of Christmas 2020, many people will be spending the festive period with family and friends. However, it’s a time of the year, which some people eagerly anticipate, yet others dread. Unfortunately, there is still some uncertainly surrounding the holiday period with another variant raising its ugly head as I write. However, if you do get to spend time with your family, I know that it can be a very stressful time. Everything can be thrown into a melting pot that can lead to disaster. People are coming together that don’t often spend much time with each other, catering for a large number of people, some with dietary requirements, isn’t easy and there is the potential for both adults and children to argue. So, here are my top tips for surviving Christmas without having a family falling out and with your sanity intact.
Lower your expectations and see the positives
Any stress or anxiety could be caused from recollections of previous experiences. You know how difficult your sister-in-law can be once the wine starts flowing and mother-in-law is really hard to handle when she starts giving her cooking tips, particularly as she was never a very good cook in the first place.
· Lower your expectations – too big a build up can lead to disappointment
· Set aside negative feelings – it’s only a day or two
· See the positives – everyone does have something positive about them
· Be compassionate – people can only affect you if you let them
· Compromise – you can’t fight fire with fire
· Enjoy the day for what it is – it is just a day
· You can’t change others but you can control your reaction
· Don’t forget you – you can enjoy the day too!
By lowering your expectations, it won’t take very much to exceed them. It is impossible to change others but you can control what you do. Try to rehearse some stock responses to questions or statements that are designed to make you feel awkward and antagonise you. Banishing those negative feelings will help you to enjoy the day for what it is, as it is just a day or two for the family to get together and create memories.
Never talk about politics or religion
· Don’t drink too much alcohol
· Leave politics and religion out of discussions
· Keep people occupied
· Keep the timeframe short and sweet
· Think outside the box
· Agree to disagree
Make sure you are in good physical shape. This may sound a little strange, but it is important to eat healthily, get enough sleep and exercise well before the big event. Think of yourself as a fortress and if you are well prepared, you’ll find your walls are not easily breached.
Invest in some board games for family interaction
We often seem to focus on food and drinks during the festive period, but keep an eye on alcohol consumption levels. There are some excellent alcohol free drinks available. It’s also important that people have something to do. Keeping people busy will help prevent any awkward silences. This can be achieved by sharing the load so that it isn’t all down to one person. Playing games is also a great way of involving everybody and games such as Articulate, Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and Charades are good ones. Make sure you also take in some fresh air by taking walks before and/or after the Christmas meal. This will help alleviate boredom and it will help to energise, refresh and recharge those batteries.
Aim for an enjoyable time, not a perfect time. Look forward to the sanity and normality of when your guests have gone. Or if you have been the visitor, remember, you will be leaving soon. You can always reward yourself after the event. This could be by pursuing a hobby, going to the sales or just relaxing with your best friends and sharing all that went on.
Whatever you are doing over the festive period, I hope you have a fantastic time. If you do struggle with family members, why not come and see me next year so that we can work through the situation so that moving forward your future experiences can be different and more enjoyable. As I always say, you can’t change others but you can change how you feel about them.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2022. Stay safe.