Am I the only one or do you also get a feeling of dread when you go into a store after Father’s Day and begin to see all the Christmas decorations being put on the shelves?  "Christmas is all about family," they say, and it is, but what happens when the thought of family all together also brings a feeling of dread?  Will there be a scene this year? Will they all get on and be one happy family? Will someone drink too much and offend everyone?  Or even worse, will I be able to afford Christmas this year, presents, food, holidays..?

Now don’t read this and panic, there is a way through – planning is always a life saver.  If you haven’t had time to do it this year, just hang on for the ride and perhaps next year you can be more prepared. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Start early talk to family and see what everyone is doing
  • If there is a rift in the family, Christmas may not be the ideal time to sort this out. Invite family who don’t get on to come on different days over the holiday time.
  • Know what YOU want to do.  This is important because you want to enjoy yourself, so work out what is going to be the best for you.  Don’t be pressured into doing something you don’t want to do.
  • Instead of a big lunch with all the trimmings, plan a picnic at the beach.
  • …Or a lunch at home and ask everyone to contribute to the meal.
  • Plan a secret Santa with a dollar amount, or small gifts to a $5 amount.   It can be fun trying to find something for a small amount of money.  I have two bunches of grapes on my wine rack that I won at a secret Santa and every time I look at them I remember the fun we had on the day.
  • Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available – water, punches, iced tea. 

For me Christmas can be stressful but also fun.  I have learned to step back and watch enjoying the differences and dysfunctions of all of my family and knowing that I am not in control of anyone else… All I can do is look after me and help others to stay safe and enjoy the day. 

So Merry Christmas everyone, enjoy the holiday season, stay safe and create some great memories.


-- Val, Relationship and Family Counsellor @ Relationships Australia Qld



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