Sadly, arguing can be as much a part of Christmas for some people as crackers or tinsel.  If you want to avoid it this year then here are some practical tips.

Every relationship and family have their touchy subjects and flashpoints.  For instance, most couples argue over two things at Christmas – about where to spend the day and about telling off the children.  One of the problems around Christmas is that while we’re aware of the tensions and trigger-points in our own families we’re often unaware of our in-laws or other relatives’.

Perhaps the key advice is to remember the old maxim that whilst you’re always invited to join and argument you don’t have to accept every invitation that you get.  If you feel that someone is really getting to you then change the subject or even walk away.  Don’t rise to the bait or become passive-aggressive – keep any response pleasant but assertive.

When they’re relationships that go back to childhood the other key thing to remember is not to revert to being childish.  It’s all too easy to revert to those old patterns of behaviour, especially when you’re back in a family group. 

There are a further two things to avoid if you don’t want to make any arguing even worse.    The first is drink, so wherever possible minimise it or remove it entirely.  If that isn’t practical then an agreement not to discuss certain subjects after a drink works for many couples.

The second thing to avoid is badmouthing their family to your partner.  No matter how much your in-laws might wind you up this is never a good idea – you’re pressing buttons about family relationships that you might not even realise, and you’re asking them to take sides with you.

If you found this mini Christmas blog about arguing useful then why not check out the others here or sign up for my monthly newsletter, with more practical tips, quirky research, and case studies every month.