Keep calm at Christmas

How to have a stress-free Christmas, including avoiding family arguments and sharing the workload.

Christmas is a time for merry-making and family get-togethers, but it can have its pressures too.

The family is stuck in the house, the kids are overexcited, there’s the tree to decorate, presents to buy and wrap, and food to cook.

It’s no wonder the festive feeling can fizzle out. There is evidence that Christmas puts a strain on families. Statistics show that January is the busiest month for divorce lawyers.

Make sure this Christmas doesn’t become a day to remember for all the wrong reasons. Follow these tips from Relate counsellor Christine Northam:

  • If there have been any family rows during the year, resolve them. Tell the people you argued with that you're looking forward to seeing them. Ask if you can get together before Christmas to talk about whatever problem you had.
  • Plan the day and share out the jobs that need to be done. Don't slave away for hours on your own and feel like people have taken advantage of you.
  • Discuss your plans with others, including any children who will be there, so that you can listen to their ideas and wishes for the day. Then you can come up with a celebration which includes things that please everyone.
  • Have a timetable for Christmas Day so that you don’t all sit around for hours doing nothing. Try to make sure you won't be spending a lot of time with a difficult person or someone you don’t get along with. 
  • Don’t drink too much. Drinking excessively is never a good idea. Find out more on safer drinking
  • Children can get overexcited, so plan a lovely long walk for a change of scene and some fresh air. Everybody will feel better and pleasantly tired instead of irritably tired. For more ideas, read Get active at Christmas.

Anger management

Has anger become a problem for you? Find out the health and social implications of becoming addicted to anger, and how to recognise the signs and manage it.

Media last reviewed: 27/05/2015

Next review due: 27/05/2017

Page last reviewed: 03/12/2014

Next review due: 03/12/2016


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

gncoaching said on 23 December 2013

The key to a calmer Christmas is planning, make sure that you have everything you need so there is no running around like a crazy person on Christmas Eve trying to find the stuff you forgot.

A great way to do this is to write lists, there is nothing like a good old list to help you get clear on what you need to do.

Have you got all the presents - write a list
Have you got all the food - write a list
Have you got all the drink - write a list

If you have people around you then get them to chip in and help why should you deal with it all, if you don't ask then they may not know you want them to help.

Get into the festive spirit get some music going have a good sing while your preparing the meal. Breathe make sure you take some slow deep breathes if your feeling a little stressed.

You'll be amazed how effective a good breathe can be if that fails there is always counting to 10, this helps you stop for a minute rather then reacting to a situation and saying something you might regret.

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