Hosting a Christmas gathering? 10 ways to keep your cool
‘Tis the season to be jolly, or so the song would have us believe, but Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year.
People can put themselves under immense pressure to create the perfect day and spending all that concentrated time with relatives can cause tempers to fray and lead to family arguments.
Law firms and family counselling services, such as Relate, say that enquiries about divorce proceedings or mediation soar after Christmas. And, according to a survey conducted by Jarlsberg, the average British family has had one argument by 10am on Christmas Day.
So what can you do to keep your cool?
- Share out responsibilities between the family, including guests, from prepping veg, to washing up and collecting up all the wrapping paper and empties for recycling. It’s your Christmas, too
- Keep some perspective
We all want to make Christmas as memorable as we can, but it is just one day of the year and it does not have to be perfect
- Drink in moderation
Too much booze can loosen tongues and cause arguments. One or two glasses might make you feel merry, but over-indulging can lower your mood
- Break recurring conversations and themes
All that time spent with relatives you maybe don’t see very often can bring up old irritations, conflicts and triggers for arguments. Try not to rake over the past; change the subject or politely excuse yourself from the room
- Go for a walk
Being cooped up in the house can lead to kids getting over-stimulated, adults getting agitated and make your nerves jangle. Plan a brisk half-hour walk or trip to the park to blow the cobwebs away
Play a group game, or watch a comedy or feel-good film on TV. The act of smiling and laughing lifts your mood
Take other people’s points of view into account. It’s not a crime to have a different opinion. If you can’t agree to differ, change the subject. Is it really worth an argument?
- Count to 10
This really does help to avoid speaking or acting in the heat of the moment
- Take time out
If it’s all getting on top of you, go for a quick walk, shut yourself away to make a phone call to a friend, or lock the door and sit on the loo for five minutes
- Count your blessings
We know, it can be stressful and push all your buttons. But stop and look at all the positive and good things you have on Christmas Day and be grateful for it