Families argue at Christmas. I put this down to Too Much or Too Little. Too much time together. Too much to eat and drink, too much expectation and disappointment, but mostly too much said, after too little thought.
You could mediate Christmas; I think you’d find it makes a difference.
Lucy “I hate roast potatoes!”
You “OK, you don’t like roast potatoes, would you like parsnips?” (Active listening and summarising, Lucy feels heard, another option offered).
John “My family haven’t wanted me at Christmas for years . . .”
You “It must feel really hard not to see your family at Christmas” (acknowledging and summarising) but they do live a long way away and we’d miss you. . “(re-frame the reason, it’s not lack of love it’s distance and he has good friends. Challenge the script).
Usually someone plays Christmas Martyr; people compete for this role, especially in the kitchen. You have a choice – compete or let them get on with it and take the dog for a walk, get very drunk, retire to bed sick or become deaf. The script assigned to you is usually callous selfishness. Nothing appeases the martyr, because it’s their favourite role and they won’t give it up. Play the game, admire their self sacrifice and hard work, they will love it and you will have peace.
If all else fails, call us after the Christmas shut-down and we’ll try to help, our number is 01908 410509. We may have been working hard over Christmas – but then so may you…