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Presents or Presence? Family fallouts at Christmas

Written by Lifestyle

At this time of year, the festivities conventionally mean that loved ones reunite, swap gifts, eat (far too much) food and have a merry old time. However, this image of the ‘cereal box family’ that we are so often sold does not allow for every individual circumstance.

As we know, families come in all shapes and sizes. Although all families have their own difficulties, we should not ignore the fact that some people simply don’t get on with theirs. Whilst some of us are lucky enough to get on well (or well enough) with our families, we imagine Christmas is particularly difficult for those who don’t.

This Christmas, as always, some of the more trivial arguments will inevitably arise, revolving around what to watch on the TV, or who knows best about the cooking. However, when it comes to it, we’re told the season isn’t about the presents, the food or the materialistic things, but those we spend time with. Christmas places many unspoken strains upon families.

[Christmas] is usually a really warming and much anticipated experience, it can lead to rising tensions and spats

For instance, the financial burden is ever prevalent. Along with this, it’s often the one time of year that everyone is under the same roof. Whilst this is usually a really warming and much anticipated experience, it can lead to rising tensions and spats. Yet all this considered, it still remains important to try and spend time with family and loved ones if at all possible.

However, you shouldn’t put yourself in any sort of compromising position if you really don’t get on with your family on a much more deeply rooted, serious level. Another angle to take involves learning to love your own company. Spending time alone can sound really daunting, but if you are not in a position to spend time with your family, you have the right to put yourself first, and deserve to have a good time none the less. Throughout the festive period, there is nothing wrong with going solo, whether you want to look around the Christmas markets or take a trip to the beach. Often removing yourself from any potential environments of tension for a while can create a calmer atmosphere in general.

Remember to not be too hard on yourself, and remind yourself that no family set up is without its flaws

Stay off the socials! By looking at people’s pictures of the “perfect day”, you’ll only get yourself down (and remember the filtered snapshots don’t show the heated argument that just took place over the television or the turkey). There is no need to compare your Christmas to another household’s, as every situation is so unique. Remember to not be too hard on yourself, and remind yourself that no family set up is without its flaws.

Perhaps you have the chance to use the festivities to reach out. If you are able to work on relationships, Christmas is the time, to lead you into a positive new year.

Or perhaps you won’t. Either way, everyone deserves happiness and calm, and can enjoy themselves just the same.

Last modified: 4th December 2019

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