Happy and Christmas are two words placed quite naturally together. However, sometimes this is considered something of an oxymoron as December 25th couldn’t be further from a happy time of year for plenty of families.
Feuding families, indigestion, kids squabbling and an endless round of repeats and mindless TV watching all add up to a whole heap of unhappiness. Hence, isn’t it about time we took the reindeer by the antlers and did something about it?
Below are just a few helpful tips on how you can have a happy family Christmas and if you’re still not convinced by Boxing Day, then there’s only one thing left to do and that’s to convert to Buddhism.
What to Watch
This is often cited as a much more fractious bone of contention than who gets the turkey oysters. From Eastenders omnibus to the Queen’s speech, there are plenty of choices that can cause squabbles to rise among family members. If your family can’t agree, then turning off the goggle box has to be the only way forward. Of course, these days, everything can be paused and watched again so bear this in mind if you’re watching grandma scrapping with the kids for the remote.
Best advice: Plan your day with the Radio Times and only turn on the TV when you need to. Make sure everyone gets to see what they really want to through recording or watching on the net.
Once you’ve realized that turning off the TV often equates to having to find something else to do, then get the old board games out and settle down to an afternoon of good old-fashioned family fun. Pick teams according to age and ability and make sure you mix up any rivalries to ensure fair play.
Avoiding games that can be too competitive, such as Monopoly, in preference to family favorites such as Cluedo and Trivial Pursuit (Junior edition if with kids), is a great idea. Nibbles, sherries, and a few more mince pies, and soon Christmas Day will just fly by.
Another great idea for making the family happy on December 25th is to have a jigsaw ready and waiting for anyone who happens to be passing. This is by no means a ‘you must join in’ activity for everyone; however, you maybe
surprised to see who you find at the table making the most of each other’s company as they fill in the blanks. Don’t force little people to get involved but just strategically place the jigsaw out of the way so they can join in on their own or with the rest of the family whenever they feel like it.
The Main Event
Christmas dinner can often be an absolute nightmare for the cook to prepare and from carving the beast of a bird to making sure everything comes out hot and on time, it can take all morning to prepare and be gone in under an hour.
Best practice is to get everyone to contribute either through delegating tasks in advance or by being relaxed in the kitchen so you’re not the only one who has taken on the job. Getting everyone involved is always a great means of creating happiness. Nonetheless, if people don’t want to help out, then leave them alone and they’ll soon be tempted into the kitchen from the depths of their lair or armchair.
Families and gift-giving should be an extremely lovely time of the day. However, it can often be littered with the dreams and wishes of all parties that have either not got what they wanted or who have seen someone else with something far more attractive. A great way to get kids to join in is to delegate a present giver and to take the attention away from quantity and more on the joy of giving. Certainly easy to say and tricky to do! Nevertheless, if you can have a quiet word with over generous grandparents in advance, then you may be able to work out a happy medium.
Get Out and About
Often the cause of many of the fights that inevitably occur over Christmas is the fact you’ll all be stuck indoors for days whilst drinking copious amounts of booze and stuffing your face with rich foods. Getting outside for a winter ramble is a great idea to lift spirits and get people chatting and even if you’re not religious, popping into the local church will surely help you all to remember exactly why it is you’re celebrating in the first place.
Who to Invite
It’s always nice to invite someone who is on their own over Christmas and sometimes you may be surprised at how the presence of a stranger in the midst of proceedings can often alleviate arguments among the more familiar feuding factions. You don’t have to get people off the street but make sure you don’t forget your single friends or elderly neighbors who might be really grateful you thought of them and be more than happy to help out.
Relax the Rules
It’s often the case when the grandparents are over, then the kids have to be on their best behavior. What’s more, from joining in with everything to keeping their elbows off the table, wanting our children to be little angels can often be as far fetched as Santa and his reindeer.
Learn to relax the rules a little at what can be a stressful time. And even if the kids don’t want to join in or fancy watching TV with their dinner on their lap, then just let them. After all, Christmas is for everyone and who’s to say that they won’t join in once they realize that they’re actually the ones who are missing out?
It has to be said that having Christmas over December can often be one of the major reasons why it sometimes can end up as something of a war zone. The fact of the matter is if you’re in control of your family and you’re fed up with the usual merry-go-round of materialism and bickering, then do something about it and escape for a few days or even several weeks.
Going on your American holidays, booking a cottage on the coast, or by-passing the cold and heading Down Under are perfectly legitimate reasons to put Christmas on hold and even though you may incur the wrath of the traditionalists – who cares, this is your time to finally get what you want so why not go for it!