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Christmas survival guide

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By Fiona Reid
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Christmas survival guide

PEACE and goodwill is what Christmas is really all about. But what if the festive season ends up fraught for your family? To help you keep things harmonious, relationship research charity OnePlusOne has released some top tips for a truly happy Christmas.

Dealing with parents

You may be looking forward to spending time with your parents – your partner may be feeling stressed out about it. Likewise, you might find the thought of Christmas with the in-laws nerve wracking.
Prepare yourselves and talk to each other about what a typical Christmas with the family is like; the way your mum and you partner’s mum do things will probably be different.
Take a moment to call or email each other’s parents to see if they need help with the big day. Both your parents and the in-laws will appreciate the gesture and by communicating, stronger ties can be built between families.
If your parents are hosting, the thought of having an extra mouth to feed can be enough to get them flustered. Factor in any dietary requirements your partner may have and years of Christmas tradition can suddenly go out the window.
This can be a big shock to your parents’ systems – and their bank accounts! While you might be used to them paying for everything, it’s a good idea to offer to contribute. Why not get the turkey this year? Or simply split the cost of the food evenly between the adults?

Dealing with the kids
For most kids, Christmas is about one thing and one thing only: presents. But the anticipation that builds up to the ceremonial unwrapping can lead to tears and tantrums.
Try spreading gift-giving across the day. After the presents have been opened and they’ve had a chance to play with everything, kids can get bored and start causing mischief. By handing gifts out throughout the day you can keep the excitement going and, hopefully, ensure good behaviour.
If the kids do misbehave, it’s unfair for you or your partner to be left to do the disciplining alone. Neither of you want to look like Scrooge. Show a united front and discuss in advance how you plan on dealing with bad behaviour.

For advice and support if you do row on Christmas Day go to OnePlusOne’s CoupleConnection web site: http://thecoupleconnection.net/ and there’s even a forum to vent your frustrations and seek advice from others.

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