Managing Christmas with the Family

Christmas is an exciting time of year filled with presents, socialising and an emphasis on having fun. It is also the time of year when spending lots of time with loved ones can become quite intense and lead to conflict, and expectations to have a “perfect” Christmas are high. Therefore, understandably it can also become quite a stressful and exhausting time. Here are a few suggestions for managing the festive season:

Manage Expectations
Whether that be food, who is getting what or who is coming over. It can be helpful to plan ahead and check out with everyone beforehand who would like to do what and when etc. This could include a “TV/computer rota”. This may help diffuse arguments on the day and makes things a bit more predictable for all involved.

Quiet Time
Although it is lovely to catch up with people, this can become quite demanding so it’s important to build in some quiet, individual time for everyone throughout the festive season. This may be especially important for young people who are particularly shy or get anxious in social situations. Older kids may find it helpful to nip out for a walk or see friends.

Try and Maintain Routine
In most households routine goes out of the window during the holidays. Although staying up late is part of the fun at Christmas it is also important to ensure that children in particular get enough sleep. It is very easy for tempers to run high when people get too tired and over excited.

Clear Communication
For families that are separated it is important that how the holidays are going to be divided up and any plans are negotiated by the adults involved. Communication needs to be clear, calm and timely and young people should not be placed in the position of being messengers.

If you and/or your family are experiencing similar issues and if these difficulties begin to cause ongoing distress or develop into a bigger issue over time, consider contacting me for an intervention that is specifically tailored to meet your individual needs – Tel: 07514 874561 or Email:

I am based at Northwood Surgery, Argyle House, Joel Street, Northwood Hills. HA6 1NW.