When your drunk Uncle starts a debate about Brexit and your siblings are squabbling in the corner over the TV remote, Christmas with your family can get a bit intense. If you’ve moved away for uni or work, you’re probably used to seeing your family during brief weekend visits. It’s natural tensions might arise when you go back to living under the same roof as them day in, day out.
So to prevent any serious arguments over Monopoly games or turkey sandwiches, here are our top tips for staying sane over the festive break…
Prepare for The Great Questioning
Probably my least favourite part of Christmas with the family is the incessant questioning. Who’s that guy in this Facebook photo? Is he your boyfriend? You’ve lost weight, are you eating properly? What do you actually do again? How did you afford this new coat?
While you might be tempted to disguise yourself as a present and hide under the tree until it all dies down, it’s actually better to just ride it out. Take a deep breath and answer in as calm a manner as you can possibly summon. If it all gets too much, turn it around on them. Ask a few questions about their lives, so you can sit back and let them do all the talking.
Keep your cool during the family drama
I can genuinely not remember a Christmas when it hasn’t all kicked off at least once. Whether it’s over a burnt turkey, a TV show clash or the policies of Jeremy Corbyn, tensions are bound to rise at some point and it can be difficult not to get involved.
But before you release all your pent up frustration with a rage-filled rant at an unsuspecting family member, try and retreat to a quiet place to calm down for a while, or open up that box of Quality Street as a peace offering.
Grab the Buck’s Fizz
Now this certainly might not work for everyone, but I’ve found a few glasses of Buck’s Fizz during dinner (or before if you’re feeling particularly stressed) can significantly help you to relax and zone out of any potential arguments. You may end up conked out on the sofa by 9pm, but at least you won’t have to sit through that trashy Christmas TV.
Just try and avoid the Boxing Day hangover because believe me, it ain’t pretty.
Try not to flip the Monopoly board
There comes a time on Christmas Day, normally around 3pm, when a peaceful lull descends over the household. That’s until some family member pipes up with the suggestion of a board game, and all hell breaks loose. Soon World War 3 breaks out over missed rent payments, illegal swapping and who’s going to get the Scottie dog until someone flips the board across the room and puts an end to it all.
As much as it pains you, try not to be that person. Don’t buy into capitalism, it never ends well.
Escape the house for a while
You might feel like you have to spend the entire Christmas period cooped up in your living room spending quality time with your family members, but in actual fact you’ll probably be much better off taking a break every now and then. You could pop over to a friend’s house for a bit, or head for a quick pint down the pub. Just taking the time to get some headspace will enable you to head home feeling much more refreshed.
When you spend such long periods apart and you’re used to your independence, spending every minute with your family can feel a bit intense. It’s totally ok if you need to take a break.
Remember that, deep down, you love your family really
While Christmas with the family can send you stir crazy, make sure you take the time to remember how much you love them really. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to spend Christmas with their relatives, so don’t take it for granted.
Becoming older and more independent can make spending long periods of time with your family more difficult, but it should also make you appreciate the time you do get to spend with them, and how much it means to them to have you back at home. So switch off your phone, switch off from work and just enjoy simply being with your loved ones… and those pigs in blankets.