argumentCelebrating Xmas as a day of peace, happiness and family time is a tough job. If you want to keep the peace and happiness! Apparently, each family will have at least 5 rows on Xmas day.

Corinne Sweet, Relationship Psychologist mentions: “Family flare-ups are inevitable. This is because people who rarely see each other are suddenly thrown together for the whole day.” And they don’t necessarily like each other or get on…..

How to avoid Xmas arguments?

FORBIDDEN TOPICS  It is important to think through what the topics are that have been triggers for arguments in the past. Make a list of those and discuss with your partner or other adults if they recognise those, and maybe want to add some. Then decide that these topics are ‘forbidden’. Find allies that agree with you, and make sure those subject are not being brought up. And if they are, move away from them by using ‘distractors’ and working together with your allies.

DISTRACTORS  Think of ‘distractors’. If danger dooms, use a distractor: a side-line that needs immediate attention. I personally use the weather, when I am on the phone with my mother. When she starts going on about how I raise my children (yeah, funny one that one), I usually start about the weather: ‘Ohhhh, you wouldn’t believe it, all of a sudden there is hail falling, wow, I need to get the chairs in….’ Always works with her. Because she then needs to report that the weather is much nicer where she is (very competitive relationship).You can think of asking advice about the soft furnishing, or a recipe, or mention the football, unless that has been defined a forbidden topic!

BE ANGELIC When with the family, behave like an angel! Use positive language, keep smiling (if you can’t do it with your heart, just do it with your mouth), agree or use the word ‘interesting’, but don’t let yourself being dragged into a pro- and contra- conversation.

It is a real challenge to develop new behaviour and you can’t expect yourself to be skilled at once. If it doesn’t go as smoothly as you wanted, if you don’t want to put the effort of angelic behaviour anymore, because it is tiring, just pour yourself another glass, sit down, smile and say ‘interesting’!

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