Relax and plan to stop festive family feuds

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Tim Buckley, CEO at Relate Tim Buckley, CEO at Relate

Christmas should be a joyful time to get together with loved ones, eat, drink and be merry. But with expectations riding high many families find the yuletide season is a toxic recipe for festive feuds.

Planning ahead, spending less, talking and mucking in together are the keys to a stress-free Christmas, according to Richmond-based counselling service Relate.

Tim Buckley, CEO for Relate Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow, said: “We all want to have a happy, relaxing Christmas with our families, but in reality it can be a stressful time.

“Lots of couples and families experience some of their biggest bust-ups over Christmas because there’s a lot of pressure on everyone.

“Common causes of arguments range from money issues over buying presents, to deciding where to spend Christmas and who’s cooking the dinner.”

Research by Relate, which provides counselling for couples and families, found that more than a third of parents argue at least once a week, with money being the biggest cause of rows.

Mr Buckley said: “We know that the extra pressures of Christmas can be the final straw for couples and families on the brink.”


Relate’s top tips for avoiding festive stress and feuds include:

• Plan ahead – getting some of the jobs done ahead of time means everyone will be less stressed, and planning the festivities as a family is likely to make sure everyone feels like their hopes and expectations are being listened to.

• Don’t overspend – money worries put huge strain on relationships. It’s not worth it in the long run. Set yourself a sensible, affordable budget and stick to it. There are plenty of ideas on the internet for cheap, or even free, Christmas presents that can help take the pressure off the annual spend.

• Talk to your children – if you are a single parent or separated, talk to your children about who they want to spend time with over the holidays.

• Plan something special – if arguments are likely over the festive period, have a few special events that everyone knows about so you have things to look forward to.

• Think of others – remember family members or friends who might be alone, or who find the festive period difficult.

• Delegate – don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. Sharing the load gives everyone the chance to muck in.

• Go easy on the booze – it will only aggravate the situation.

• Have fun – don’t forget, it’s supposed to be fun.


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