We all know the drill: wake up, open presents, start on the chocolates, countdown to family arguments. Merry Christmas, friends.
If high-pressured, Gordon Ramsay Kitchen Nightmare scenarios are familiar to you, you’re not alone. Every December 25th, half the family become Michelin Star chefs, banging pots, barking orders and putting their heart and soul into roast potatoes, and the rest get dragged into a whirlwind of stress such situations create.
You might not see some relatives any other time of year, so the dinner table seems opportune for Nan to probe your cousin about her lack of children, and ask why your husband is eating so much when he’s clearly put on weight. A few bottles of sherry/buck’s fizz/brandy, sugar-laden treats, and constant flashbacks to how much money you’ve spent again this year, it’s no wonder a TicketBox.net survey reveals Christmas as the 6th most stressful life event!
It's Clapback Season
Chaotic? Yes. And the best thing is since you’re all tied by the bond of Love and DNA, there’s just no escaping.
Having said that, there are plenty of techniques you could try to keep your blood pressure and headaches at bay. The buck stops with you – if you let the jibes roll off your back, the heat is snatched straight out the situation, so channel your Mindfulness, it’s going to be one heck of a ride…
We’ve asked our team to offer advice on navigating family stress at Christmas.
Kat - Tiger Boe Director: Think about all the people who are homeless or out on their own without anything to eat. This will put you in a place of gratefulness for your own family and make things feel all that much nicer.
Sam – What’s The Alternative/Work Well Practice: Only you can let others affect your feelings. Look after yourself first with screen breaks and plenty of sleep. Let it go. Is it really that important? Ask for help.
Jeannie - Family Constellations: When things start to crank up, to preempt things at the beginning of a family gathering, press PAUSE in your mind... Ask yourself and others present in a kind, smiling, not blaming way, ‘Is this arguing really what we want to do today? I don’t. We all deserve better! Lets drop it and do something better’. Then suggest something - a drink, a game, a walk.
Jag – Swedish Body Massage: Shut off worries and de-stress in a relaxing, peaceful environment away from panic and the mad rush of Christmas. Remove yourself from a heated discussion to avoid unwanted escalated arguments.
Here’s more tips from your Tiger Boe family: Laugh – no matter what anyone does or says, you are not to blame for everything that happens in the world. You are only one person, so give yourself a big ‘cheers’ for another year in the bag. If it helps in the middle of an argument, take a huge breath and laugh at yourself for how wound up you are getting… It might sound stupid, but take a moment to shrug everything off, no matter how much someone is pressing your buttons, and you’ll feel like a champ for defusing the situation.
Share the Load – Make dinner a fuddle. Everyone takes responsibility for a dish so no-one has to do the whole lot. Someone should take charge of devising children activities to keep them entertained, and someone else could do the same for the elderly lot. Tackling these things as a team can make it less burdensome for everyone.
Invite Other Families – Not so they can all gawp at your clan’s mania, but because it takes the pressure off every scenario! We naturally behave sweeter around strangers, and if everyone contributes to dinner, there’s less intensity for any one chef.