One week to go, and it’s the time of year when we are dashing around getting those final presents bought, and are wondering whether Christmas will go with a bang this year!

Of course, when I say bang, i mean of happiness and joy and…….. oh who am I kidding…. most of us, if we are off to spend time with the family, are wondering if Uncle John will show his true colours again, and whether Auntie Maggie will throttle him.

As much as we love our friends and family at Christmas time – we cannot deny that this ‘closeness’ is testing. Who hasn’t had to spend a few days with their family and experienced either the occassional stressed or cross word, or a full on family fall out?

SO – how can you handle getting through the festive period WITHOUT having to fall out with your family? Here are my tips to help you…

1. Give yourself a time limit. Don’t outstay your welcome.

Often the reason why people end up exploding and falling out with eachother, is that they simply outstay their welcome. There is always a turning point where you can just sense that people are getting fed up with things. Be the person who reads this, and know when it is time to say thank you, i have had a wonderful time, but I think it’s time to go home now…

Of course, this only works if you are the one staying somewhere – if you are the one hosting others, then it’s time to move onto the next step…

2. Find a place where you can run to…

Okay, not literally, but you get what I am hinting at here – have a safe space, where if things start to feel too much for you, you can get away from people for a bit… it only needs to be say, 20 minutes… and reconnect to YOU again, This could be as simple as keeping your favourite book in the loo and locking yourself away in there for a breather.

Knowing that you can get out and take a mental break from things can literally mean the difference between an argument erupting or not happening at all. Be pro-active about keeping your stress to a minimum and the calmer that you are, the more of a positive impact you will have on others.

3. Know peoples alcohol limits and don’t go overboard in the booze aisle.

One of the top reasons as to why people argue over Christmas is that they spend more than they usually would in the booze aisle in the supermarket, and then end up with several people feeling fiddly, whilst also being caged in a small space together.

This is a recipie for disaster when you think about it, so remember, that Christmas day is just ONE DAY – a couple of bottles of wine and maybe some Prosecco for with dinner should be more than adequate, and getting hammered should not be the objective.

4. Be mindful of other peoples grief, and losses…

Christmas is the one time of year where grief and loss feels monumental. And it doesn’t have to be a loss that happened at Christmas, in order for it to surface. Christmas brings up memories, and nostalgia, and can leave some of us feeling super emotional. Be aware of what someone might be feeling at Christmas and then go out of your way to let them know that you are there for them.

So many people avoid the subject and it can then lead to that person over drinking, whilst feeling angry – ask the person if they would like to make a toast to the person who is absent, and this can make or break someones Christmas….

Just remember that it is the one day, and that it is the time spent with people that matter to you that is important, NOT the presents under the tree, not whether so and so spent more on whoever, and less on you this year.. let the past be in the past for a moment and just enjoy everyone who is here being together. You never know who might be leaving an empty armchair next Christmas.

Make it a cracking one, and enjoy it! And you will hear from me next week, with my reflections of 2019 and my hopes for 2020.

Until then, stay safe and enjoy the run up to Christmas.

Christopher. 

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