Christmas with Family – Frightful or Delightful?

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful



While this song conjures up a magical Christmas image, for many the thought of Christmas is more frightful than delightful.   For most, family plays a pivotal role in our collective and individual lives.  The ideal family is usually a group of unconditionally loving supportive people but very few families are ‘ideal’.

Research shows that nine out of ten adults are virtually estranged from and don’t see their family all year but still get together on this one day and everyone is expected to get along. As we all know family members can push your buttons in ways no one else knows how so the following are three tips for dealing with your loved ones over Christmas without going crazy!!

  1. Try not to take things personally. Remember, it’s not about you!

If someone has said something hurtful to you it says so much more about them than it does about you.  If you can look at another persons’ behaviour towards you as a reflection of their relationship with themselves, rather than a statement about your value as a person.  Try not to take offence but rather listen to their words.  They are telling you how they see the world.  One can only see what already exists inside.  Try to let go of the need to defend or justify yourself but instead try to evaluate the insults as an insight into who these people are and what they are struggling with.  And remind yourself of the mantra;

“What people think of me is none of my business”


  1. Focus on your Family’s good points

Get into the holiday spirit by making the decision that you are going to be as kind, compassionate, helpful and loving as possible this Christmas. If you want happiness over the holiday season, be the happy person.  Want fun? Be fun.  Want cheer? Be cheerful.  Set the example!  People learn so much more by observing others than by listening to them.  Everyone has at least one good point, even that sullen sister, stingy brother or grumpy dad.  Find the good traits in each of your family members and try to stay focused on these.  And remember the saying;

“Be kind to unkind people, because they need it the most”.


  1. And last but not least, be good to yourself and enjoy yourself

Christmas is a time for celebration.  It is a time for family getting together and exchanging gifts as a sign of their love for each other.  So make it your mission to enjoy it and don’t forget to treat yourself this Christmas.  Do something nice for you to nurture your inner self whether that’s buying yourself a gift or taking some extra time with loved ones.  The more you look after yourself the more you will be able to enjoy time with others. And remind yourself each day to;

Do something today that your future self will thank you for”

elaine HanlonElaine Hanlon is a qualified Counsellor and Psychodynamic Psychotherapist. A graduate of the recognised Tivoli Institute and BSY London, Elaine has over twelve years’ experience working with individuals and couples through a variety of different issues. She works within the IACP and the IAHIP Code of Ethics and Practice.
Elaine operates a clinic from our Dublin care Centre and can be booked via our centre

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Email [email protected].