Ah, the holidays. Whilst they bring times of joy, togetherness and gratitude, being close to family and friends that you may not choose to spend as much time with usually can, unfortunately, bring a difference in opinions and create unwanted arguments and tension. So what topics should be avoided and what can you do to defuse the situation? Read on for our advice…
Unsurprisingly, money tops the list of subjects most likely to be argued over at Christmas. From how much has been spent on presents, to how many bottles of wine should be bought for the Christmas dinner table, it’s a subject where emotions can be heightened easily. So what should you do if you and a partner/family or friend member disagree over spending? Try and agree on a limit to spend beforehand which helps avoids any tension or difference in opinion. But, most importantly: stick to it! This is a way of respecting the discussion, proving you can compromise and refusing to focus on the consumerism of Christmas over the more important aspects such as kindness and gratitude.
Issues from the past
It is easy to drag up past events at Christmas time, especially if you are in the company of someone you don’t see that often, or have held a grudge over actions they took years ago. Although it may be difficult to forgive and forget, bringing it up will do nothing except release negative emotions. Instead, let it go. Move forward into 2020 remembering reconciliation is a central theme of Christmas and it is a good time to seek forgiveness and resolve old issues. Similarly, if it is you who has unintentionally offended a family member in the past, be considerate of their emotions, apologize and offer forgiveness- even if you don’t quite agree.
Just as several topics shouldn’t be discussed at the dinner table, the same can be said for Christmas! What with the world political climate this year- with everything from Trump, to Brexit (or not) to the recent December UK general election, if you are aware you have a different political alliance to family and friends, Christmas is probably not the best time to bring it up! Close proximity, too much food and drink and the general stress that comes with the season mean heightened sensitivities and a greater potential for festive fallouts. Instead, stick to ‘safe’ topics of conversation that won’t offend or cause unnecessary conflict.
There is often so much hype around Christmas that if you build your expectations too high, you are likely to be left disappointed. Unfulfilled expectations are another common cause of festive disagreements. Whether it’s the Christmas dinner not turning out perfect, or an unwanted present, often someone ends up hurt, angry and feeling dejected. To avoid this, first, accept that you cannot please everyone and that trying to do so is a wasted effort. Again, being proactive and discussing this beforehand can help to establish realistic expectations and avoid excess stress and pressure.
Conflicting family traditions
This one is especially apparent amongst newly married couples or when two families join together. There can often be a clash in family traditions and the way that Christmas is celebrated. If you find yourself in this situation, first be respectful and mindful of the way others do things- your way isn’t necessarily the right way. Instead, try to compromise and create new traditions that you can all share- if you have holiday traditions from the past that are important, why not adapt them to your new situation so they can still be a part of your day?
Choices Personalized Retreats would like to wish you a Merry Christmas! If you need any help over the festive season, please contact us.