Christmas is a time for family. Of course, that can also mean Christmas is very often a time for family arguments, too.
And so, the most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful. That’s before even reckoning in how long the turkey needs to be in the oven and syncing the veg and the gravy to be ready on time.
There are all sorts of reasons why relatives might fall out over the festive season, from family feuds being reignited to people overindulging and losing control.
But according to a conflict expert, there are ways to defuse seasonal tensions and avoid the most common Christmas quarrels.
Christmas joy or Christmas dread?
A recent survey by charity Relate recently found 73% of people aged 16 and over in the UK expect something to put relationships under pressure during Christmas.
Money worries was the top concern, with 24% of poll respondents identifying it as a problem.
Uncertainty around COVID restrictions (20%) was also an issue, as was concerns about participants’ own mental health (15%).
Nonetheless, more people were looking forward to Christmas in 2021 (67%) rather than in 2020 (46%).
And less people were dreading Crimbo, too – with 22% polling that way last year as opposed to 10% in 2021.
Elsewhere, a separate poll identified arguing over the TV remote control as the biggest source of arguments.
What causes Christmas family arguments?
Here are the top 20 reasons for Christmas family arguments, according to a survey for Buffalo LinkStation.
- Ownership of the remote control
- Christmas dinner stress
- Leaving all the work to mum
- Who does the washing up
- Cheating over Christmas games
- When to open presents
- Children eating too much choc before Christmas dinner
- Deciding on films to watch
- Not tidying up after presents
- Using mobiles at the dinner table
- Family members not wanting to watch soaps
- Kids moaning about presents
- Reignited family feuds
- How warm it is in the house
- Drinking too much (dad)
- Spending too much time on social media
- People wanting to watch different DVDs
- No space to accommodate relatives
- The cost of entertaining relatives
- Drinking too much (mum)
How to avoid Christmas family arguments
Conflict expert Jane Gunn specialises in how to deal with a variety of potentially challenging situations.
She also identified other ways in which family can forget their Christmas spirit and fall out.
These include deciding on which family members to spend time with and feeling under-appreciated.
But one particular piece of advice she gives applies to the top problem mentioned above. And it certainly seems worth bearing in mind.
Jane told inews.co.uk: “Watching Christmas Day TV is often part of the tradition. But if you can’t agree on something to watch all together, then limit the window of television watching.
“Then you can do something else as a group, such as a game of charades, a walk or curling up on the sofa for a good chin wag.”
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