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Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time. An occasion for love and togetherness. But we all know the reality can be so so different. Enforced socialising, financial stress, being cooped up together. It can all put huge pressure on relationships.
We watch happy families in films and TV adverts. We aspire to be those families. But we all know our Christmas is far more likely to be bored farting in front of the TV and a few disappointing presents. Far more Royle Family than John Lewis. And you know what, I'm OK with that.
It's just a couple of days. You don't need to bottom the house, or get new decorations, or a new sofa. You don't need to buy enough food to feed the entire town. Just plump up the cushions and follow our 5 Point Plan On How Not To Kill Your Grandma.
It's harder to kill someone when there's no weapons! Seriously though, choose not to pick a fight. We all have a family member who annoys us. If they truly are trouble makers, don't invite them. Or uninvite yourself. But Great Aunt Bessie going on and on about nothing: just let her ramble and leave the room.
Enforced socialising is rubbish. Make some time to be alone. Walk the dog. Tidy the cellar. Sneak off to the attic for a cheeky snooze. Even just 20 minutes to yourself will make all the difference. Set an example and let everyone else do it too. Teenagers want to slope off to their bedrooms to play with their new gadgets. Let them - they'll be far less grumpy. And younger children might benefit from time to themselves too.
There's no better way of metaphorically shoving a dummy in everyone's mouth than a great Christmas film. If you've got to that point where everyone's over tired, over stuffed, over talked and drunk, then open a box of chocs and stick the telly on.
Doing everything yourself? This is no way of coping with Christmas. You will wear yourself ragged. And everyone will treat you like a servant. Or they'll be resentful that they don't get a look in. By the end of the day, you'll be ready to strangle someone. Share out the jobs. Make people feel involved. Give yourself a break.
Being a control freak at Christmas is a sure fire path to murder. Forgot the holly? Got the wrong napkins? Cat ate the giblets? IT DOESN'T MATTER!
Merry Christmas, have a good one!