We’ve all seen the TV shows and films where there's a Christmas dilemma but everything comes right just in time for the family to be together and realise how much they love each other.
And while that makes for a wonderful feel-good film, it’s not always realistic. Yes, we love our families but that doesn’t mean that spending time with them is smooth sailing.
Whether it’s the family you were born into or the one you married into, there will always be touchy subjects that you need to navigate with as much diplomacy as you can muster!
Do you feel obliged to buy presents for aunts and uncles you barely see once a year? Does your other half expect you to buy gifts for their nieces and nephews? And who has the time to buy separate, thoughtful, beautifully-wrapped gifts for each person in their family?
It’s not practical and at a certain point, it’s wasteful and bad for the environment. Instead, make a family decision to draw names so that you just have one person to buy for and cap the spending limit to suit everyone involved.
2. Attending parties
Do you and your partner have different approaches to festive events? If one of you is a party animal and the other would prefer to be curled up in front of Netflix, find a compromise that suits you both.
Attend two events rather than four and agree that if you stay late at one, you can leave the other one at eleven!
3. Where to spend Christmas Day
The simple thing here is to do every second Christmas between your family and your partner’s family. However, things get more complicated when you have children and/or just want to stay in your own home.
It might not be what you want to hear but in this case, honesty is the best policy. Explain why you want to stay in your own home and arrange for shorter visits in the days after Christmas or in the New Year.
You never know, your parents and in-laws might be delighted with the arrangement! You won’t know until you have the chat.
4. Sulking children
We’ve all heard the stories of children demanding ridiculously expensive presents for Christmas only to be found hours later playing with the box it came in. Or throwing a tantrum if they don’t get exactly what they want from Santa.
If you’re unhappy with your child’s attitude or worry they’re becoming ungrateful, take them volunteering for the day.
It could be at an animal shelter, a soup kitchen or, if there’s nothing like that near you, show them videos of how people help each other at Christmas. Hopefully, it will put their desires in perspective when they see others in need of basic things like food and shelter.
5. Spending time with people you don’t really like
When it comes to Christmas time, it’s almost guaranteed that you will end up spending time with people you’d rather not.
It could be your irritating sibling, a cantankerous uncle, your posh in-laws or that one friend of your partner’s who you find utterly obnoxious.
The trick is to keep the timeframe in your mind – it’s just one week, one event, one meal. You can get through that. Sit beside the person you get on with best, keep the conversation light, enjoy the food and with any luck, you’ll be back in the comfort of your own home before you know it!