Leading relationship support charity gives top tips on surviving a family Christmas

The festive period is supposed to be a magical time full of goodwill and kindness, but for many it can be extremely fraught, often resulting in conflict.

Stress, financial worries and the pressures of expectation can all add to the turmoil, creating strain on relationships.

Relationships Scotland, the largest provider of relationship support in the country, is offering advice to families and couples looking for a more peaceful Christmas. They say communication is key but don’t be afraid to seek help if everything becomes too much.

Stuart Valentine, Chief Executive of Relationships Scotland said: “Many people are at risk of setting high expectations of what Christmas should be like, but sadly for some the reality is far from magical.

“Financial pressure is one of the biggest sources of stress at this time of year, and this can very quickly manifest itself into conflict and relationship turmoil.

“Our advice to families this Christmas is to focus of spending good quality time with your loved ones and don’t get into debt in the hope of having the perfect Christmas. If things do get too much, always remember that support is available, with relationship counselling and family mediation available across the country.”

Relationships Scotland is offering some top tips to help families avoid Christmas conflict:

Focus on what really matters
One of the biggest Christmas stresses is money. Trying to buy the ‘perfect’ Christmas rarely leads to happiness, especially if you’re spending money you simply don’t have. Try to agree on a realistic Christmas budget with your partner and stick to it. If you can’t afford to get everyone in your family presents, tell them – you’ll often find they’re relieved that you brought it up. Secret Santa is a great way to ensure no one misses out without spending a fortune.

Share you Plans
Make sure you have some way of knowing each other’s plans over the festive period. This is especially important if you have young children. Office parties, catching up with old friends, and impromptu festive drinks are great, but if your other half doesn’t know what you have planned this can sometimes cause jealousy, resentment and guilt. Plan ahead and communicate – make sure you both write down the dates of all those festive parties, nights out with friends and school pantos. Try to make sure you both get the opportunity to socialise this Christmas and, if possible, get a trusted babysitter in so you can enjoy some of the fun together.

Avoid Overindulgence
You don’t need to bin that bottle of Baileys but you should recognise that excessive alcohol consumption is at the root of many Christmas arguments. We see the aftermath of Christmas rows in the counselling room every January, and lots of them stem from people who have had too much to drink . Also, try to avoid tackling long-standing relationship issues during the festive season – It’s always worth asking yourself: Do I need to bring this issue up now, or can it wait until after Christmas?


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