Tips For The "Stressful" Family Christmas

Tips For The "Stressful" Family Christmas

Most of us enjoy Christmas and look forward to getting together with our loved ones to celebrate. However, for some of us Christmas is a difficult time and can trigger grief and loneliness if someone is missing. Many of us can also recall challenging family events where conflict can arise and old hurts get revisited. Try these tips to survive your Christmas celebrations.

  1. Be prepared – give yourself plenty of time to get places, plan out any food or presents you are going to take. Remind yourself of who will be there (everyone’s names) and what questions you might ask on current topics that are positive in their lives.  

  2. If any signs of conflict arise change the topic or say 'let's not go there and enjoy Christmas together'.

  3. Pace yourself with food and alcohol and remember to drink plenty of water.

  4. Create a 'Distress signal' with your partner or trusted family member so that they can rescue you from any uncomfortable situations.

  5. Take the opportunity to learn your family history – it may be one of the few chances you get.

  6. If someone is away or has since passed – acknowledge them gently through a toast or a few words before your meal.

  7. If bringing presents then think of items that bring people together and everyone can join in (card game, Frisbee, lawn bowls). Always have gift cards on hand in case someone arrives unexpectedly.

  8. If your Christmas is very busy – ensure you ‘schedule’ yourself some down time.  

Robert Fendall