Christmas gives us a wonderful opportunity to meet up with friends and family. However, sometimes one or two of those present can also provide us with a significant amount of stress – particularly people who might thrive on causing conflict and drama.
I’ve decided to share my top tips on how to handle any ‘holiday stress’ that you may have to contend with.
1: Minimise the impact by meeting in a restaurant/hotel, that way, when the difficult person has downed enough Dutch courage to kick off, you can politely make your excuses and leave.
2: Prepare yourself for conflict by approaching the gathering with a sense of realism and perspective. For example, if, every year, a drunk relative takes the opportunity to criticise your appearance, your choice of career or your partner, then don’t expect them to suddenly develop manners. Just smile sweetly and remind yourself that you really do love them.
3: I may have rid myself of the diva in my life (divorce), but I still have my OCD…meaning the perfectionist in me finds it difficult to deal with Christmas not being ‘exactly’ as it should be. If this is you, please try and keep your emotions, your anxieties, and most of all, your expectations under control, and, as you down that glass of prosecco, remember, we’re all in this together.
4: With that sentiment in mind, try to see the other person’s point of view as opposed to pointing out to them how wrong they are. Use sentences like, “I’m really sorry you feel this way, and, while I disagree with you, I do see where you’re coming from”, then move on and change the subject. Then again, you could place a focus on trying to find a solution to your differences before the big day!
5: If you’re a blended family (and we are), I’ve found that meeting up with your ex and his/her partner in a courteous and polite manner will set a great example for any children and young people present. Due to our mutual love and respect for our kids/grandkids, and for our current partners, there’s never any tension present, rather there’s a happy, light-hearted, friendly atmosphere when myself and my former husband attend festive family get-togethers.