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Psychologist shares key family 'rules' to have the best Christmas possible

Psychologist shares key family 'rules' to have the best Christmas possible

A psychologist has outlined some simple rules to implement to trade Christmas chaos in for family fun this year.

Christmas is a jolly time for some and a chaos of calamity for others, but a psychologist has outlined some simple tips on how to avoid a festive car crash this year.

Speaking to UNILAD, research psychologist and family therapist Liz Forbat suggested that the idea of ‘forced jollity’ can very much put a strain on families and those getting together.

There is often an expectation you MUST have the best time ever for it to be worthwhile around Christmas and this simply isn’t true.

Forbat, who is also a Professor at the University of Stirling, highlighted that a few key rules during a Christmas get together could turn an expected dreaded few days into the best time of the year.

Professor Liz Forbat highlighted some essential Christmas rules for a smooth festive celebration.
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One of the biggest problems some families face when it comes to the rare meet-up is getting into old or bitter arguments. We all can get a bit loose-tongued after a few Christmas brandys when cramped together, after all.

However, Forbat said ‘setting intentions can be really helpful’.

Explaining this further, she said: “This could include choosing not to engage in being critical about others in the family.”

So, if you were planning on using Christmas for the time to confront your cousin about something that happened four months ago, it might be worth giving it a miss in the name of the Christmas spirit.

Another rule Forbat suggested was essentially not overstaying your welcome.

She said: “Know when you’ll go home and set that expectation with everyone. That way, you’re all able to work together to focus on a clear end time.”

The professor also claimed that a small gift, if you are going to someone else's home for the holiday, can do wonders.

“For many families it’s helpful to not show up empty handed. Bring something that fits with your family – a new decoration, drinks to share, or some food,” she said.

The professor claimed that a small gift for the family hosting the festivities can do wonders.
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“For many families, these seemingly small acts are ways of showing care and love, even when it is hard to say these things out loud.”

The professor also noted that some of the best ways to ensure your loved ones feel appreciated during the holiday are simple.

“As they say in primary school: Show and tell. You can both show your family you appreciate them (acts of kindness, small gifts) and tell them (compliments, telling them you’re thankful for them),” she said.

Her advice on avoiding tension was equally simple. So yes, it really has been staring you in the face on how to deal with your annoying relatives.

She said: “Learning how to listen, forgive and apologize can all be very powerful tools and don’t need to wait for December to start practicing.”

If that is not quite working, no harm seeking professional help as it really is their 'bread and butter', according to Forbat.

Featured Image Credit: 10'000 Hours/gorodenkoff

Topics: Christmas, Psychology