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Spending Christmas with the family

Tags: Christmas, friends and family, children, in laws
Categories: Friends & Family

For many families, Christmas is seen as the one time of year when everybody, from your granny to your great uncle Jim, comes together to eat, drink and be merry.

But when you’ve got so many different characters together in one place, it’s almost inevitable that a row or two will emerge.

Last Christmas, a study found that 30% of British families say that it takes less than 12 hours for an argument to occur between relatives on Christmas day. For 22% of people, these arguments are likely to happen first thing on Christmas morning.

Just the thought of these arguments causes lots of couples to feel anxious about visiting each other’s family during the festive holidays.

Read on for some tips on surviving Christmas with the family:

Dealing with the parents

Your parents will no doubt be used to calling the shots on Christmas day and, after so many years of organising family get-togethers, they’re probably set in their ways.

If your parents are hosting, the thought of having an extra mouth to feed can often be enough to get them flustered. Factor in any dietary requirements your partner may have and years of Christmas tradition can suddenly go out the window.

This can be a big shock to your parents’ systems – and their bank accounts. While you might be used to them paying for everything, it’s a good idea to offer to contribute. Why not get the turkey this year? Or simply split the cost of the food evenly between the adults.

Remember, while you may be looking forward to spending time with your parents, your partner may be feeling stressed out about it. Likewise, you might find the thought of spending Christmas with the in-laws nerve wracking.

Prepare yourselves for what’s coming, and talk to each other about what a typical Christmas with the family is like; the way your mum and you partner’s mum do things will probably be different. 

Take a moment to call or send each other’s parents an email to see if they need help with the big day. Both your parents and the in laws will appreciate the gesture and by communicating and working together, stronger ties can be built between families. 

Dealing with the kids

For the majority of kids, Christmas is about one thing, and one thing only: presents.

However, the anticipation that builds up to the ceremonial unwrapping on Christmas morning can lead to tears and tantrums.

Try and spread gift-giving across the day. After the presents have been opened and they’ve had a chance to play with everything, kids can get bored, irritable and start causing mischief. By withholding gifts and handing them out throughout the day, you can keep the excitement going and, hopefully, ensure good behaviour.

When the kids do misbehave, it’s unfair for you or your partner to be left to do the disciplining alone. Neither of you want to look like Scrooge. Show a united front and discuss with one another how you plan on dealing with bad behaviour in advance so that no irrational decisions are made. The last thing you want to do is have your kids grounded on Christmas day.

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  • User-anonymous juju Flag

    I saw a quote on the internet that made me smile: Santa has the right idea. He only visits families once a year!

    Seriously though, I think it's easier if you live close by to each other, because you are more likely to see each other little and often. It's when, like my in-laws, you live too far away to see each other regularly. That's when it ends up being 4 or 5 days stuck together under the same roof. That's when I want to run down the street with my head in my hands screaming, "NOoooo!"

    Fri 29, Nov 2013 at 1:40pm