How to Manage the Highs & Lows of Christmas
Christmas Day arrives and finally the pent up excitement can be unleashed on the family (and the house – uh oh!). The kids are running amok chasing each other around the house. Grandmother-and-father are nattering away with the cousins in the living the room, your partner is AWOL, and the boot room looks like a bomb exploded in it with shoes lying awry and muddy water seeping its way onto your kitchen floor. A distant uncle, who somehow got invited, is ever so tipsy, singing Christmas carols to a family crowd that is laughing raucously in the kitchen, while the family dog, unseen, eats the paper off one of the presents under the Christmas tree. The little ones are moping about receiving presents that weren’t on their Christmas list and you are up to your elbows in Christmas dinner prepping, cooking, and serving – and seem to be missing out on all the festive excitement. Someone in the living room, unbeknown to you, is unwittingly starting up a conversation about something very sensitive to other family members in the room. Possible arguments loom – in fact, they are imminent. Sound familiar? Ah, the highs and lows of Christmas, right?
How to Bring Peace, Harmony, & Happiness to Your Family Christmas Gathering
It’s true that as Christmas Day nears, so does the excitement for a fun family gathering and the exchange of gifts. But let’s not forget that family Christmas gatherings come with their fair share of stress, tension, and awkward moments. You should always put your mental health first over the holidays, so if you see a therapist regularly, do not stop your appointments. Let’s face it, when it comes to Christmas, there are both highs and lows to expect, but there are things you can do to limit tensions, control excited behaviour, and ensure that everyone leaves your home feeling relaxed, spoiled, and happy.
Let’s take a look at some options…
- Get the family out of the house!
Okay, you don’t have to kick them out, but if there are any local walks near the house, it’s a good idea to send them for a stroll, so that you can get Christmas dinner sorted out and so that you can distract them from possible arguments. Even if you have smaller children over, try some of these Outdoor Activities for little ones.
- Pop on a Christmas movie.
Of course, you don’t want the family glued to the television for Christmas Day, but an hour or two might be nice. Christmas movies are a great way to keep both young and old thoroughly entertained and occupied for an hour or two. With a good movie you can limit those conversations that lead to tension, but more than that, a good old fashioned Christmas movie can really warm the heart and draw people together.
- Play a game.
Games are a great way to bond as a group and keep occupied until the two main events of Christmas are ready to happen: gift exchange and eating piles of yummy food. You don’t have to play a serious game of Chess. Rather think of something fun like a Secret Santa Tombola game. How? To play this game, request that everyone arrives with two extra, small gifts. The first gift will be an actual small gift (it can be anything such as chocolates or a pencil case) and the other must be a spoof gift, such a box wrapped in paper with nothing inside. Some mischievous family members may even hide a very nice gift (a bracelet or trinket) inside what appears to be a rubbish one (a toilet roll), to deliberately throw people off!
Once the family is gathered, the fun can begin! Gifts piled in the centre can be exchanged or stolen according to rules of a dice (i.e. 1 = take one present, 2 = take two, 3 = take one from someone else 4 = give one to someone else…). Another great “game” to play in the lead up to the big day is the Christmas Bingo Advent Calendar which you can find at new bingo sites UK. Get the whole family involved with the game which features 25 hilarious and inevitable pre-crimbo scenarios to tick off as and when they occur before the big day – guaranteed to get you in the spirit of Christmas.
- Delegate chores.
Chores are a great way to keep people occupied and “out of trouble”. It’s also a fun element as each family member will feel included and like they are of importance. But how do you delegate chores for a Christmas gathering? It’s quite simple. In the lead up to Christmas Day, make a list of all of your guests (young and old) and think of specific chores to give them for the day. Perhaps one person can be tasked with making egg nog while another will have to make sure that the children have Christmas games to play. Make sure that each guest knows exactly what his/her chore is well in advance. On Christmas Day, their focus will be on completing their chores which will keep the crowd semi controlled and happy.
The last point on the list should simply be to have fun. Christmas Day comes with its trials and tribulations, but that’s to be expected. The highs and lows are somehow a Christmas tradition all on their own. Simply take it in your stride. Laugh good naturedly at awkward or awry comments, spread the joy and laughter you hope to see in the room, let the children run amok, and simply relax, smile, and have fun.