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Xmas Can Be Stressful, Here's How To Get Through it...

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Looking for ways to get through Xmas without wanting to kill everyone (or one specific person) in your family?

If you love Christmas and being around your fam, this isn’t for you.

Right, now let's get on with it. Ahh Christmas! The food, the laughter, the fun & games with family. And the fights!

Christmas would be wonderful if we didn't have to spend it with our families - people we haven't chosen and who press our buttons, do things we don't like and who generally get on our nerves.

So what specifically makes this glorious occasion so stressful?

  1. EXPECTATIONS OF THE DAY. The Idea that Xmas is ‘supposed’ to be wonderful is often what makes us miserable when the jibes, irritations and arguments start and we’re like ‘this isn’t how it’s supposed to be’. So start by managing your expectations.

  • Expect mediocrity; horrible food, rubbish presents that you'll re-gift.

  • Expect the mother in law to badger you about ‘giving her’ grandchildren (a ridiculous thing to do if you ask me. Oh, no one did).

  • Expect your sibling to poke you where they know it’s gonna hurt.

  • And expect that the person who usually drinks too much and gets lairy will do just that (newsflash: maybe it’s you).


The challenge here is not in trying to persuade them to agree with you, but in accepting that they are unlikely to agree with you and that trying to get them to see your point is futile. Let's take recent events as an example. Brexit and vaccines. Two very polarising phenomena. Whichever side you're on, how likely is it that you will change your mind?

Now consider the chances of someone who has the opposite view changing their mind. It's highly unlikely to happen. That doesn't mean it's impossible, it just means that you'll be wasting your time if or when you try to challenge their beliefs and try to get them to accept your view. You won't accept theirs... so why would they accept yours? Save yourself a lot of agro this Christmas (and in life generally) by having the wisdom not to argue with idiots.

On a recent instagram poll, someone (let's call her Vivien) said that one thing she found stressful about Christmas was all the meat, for she is vegetarian, and she would like her family to be less meat-centric at Christmas. This is a constant source of frustration and disputes. The uncomfortable truth is that Christmas is probably always going to be about meat, cheese, chocolate, alcohol and excess. We can whinge about it all we like, but it's not going to change any time soon.

No matter how hard the vegetarians may try to influence things otherwise, people like Vivien will never be able to change how much meat their family consumes at Christmas so the next best thing she can do is save herself the stress by stopping fighting a losing battle, accept that this is how Christmas is and change how she feels about it. Whatever you can't change, you need to look for all the ways the it is serving you (directly and indirectly). It's not easy but neither is arguing with no chance of winning.

If you're concerned about someone trying to project onto you - BOUNDARIES, people boundaries.

Two things - one is to observe your own reaction to their unwanted intervention and try not to let it bother you. Remember that they probably mean well for you. Know that this is just them being them and you can choose how to react to it.

About arguments:

It takes two in each argument - one to push a button, and another to rise to it. One to instigate, another to respond. If you know that someone is going to try to irritate you:

  • Have the awareness that their aim might be to rile you

  • Have the grace to deflect or agree with them (through gritted teeth if needs be - why bother trying to prove them wrong?)

  • Change the subject

  • Walk away and let them bask in the glory of annoying you. It's their issue, not yours

  • Do you want to be right or have a vaguely pleasant family life?

And on a general note (from someone who hates conflict):