SURVIVAL TIPS FOR A PEACEFUL NOEL You may love your family, but that doesnt automatically mean you relish the idea of spending Christmas with them. Whether youre facing the inevitable interrogation about your personal life from your mother, cringing at the thought of Christmas dinner with your sisters pompous bore of a husband, dreading exposing your new partner to the family festive sport of arguing over the turkey, or simply bracing yourself for those simmering, long-term issues to explode after too much wine, try these spritual tips to help you stay serene: Keep calm in the face of criticism: If you are faced with a relative who opposes your choices, it can lead to altercations.

Let go by changing tack. Remain calm and say, Youre most probably right. You have not said they are right, you have not agreed with them, but they will hear the word right and think you have. This statement usually leaves people with nowhere else to go. MICHELE KNIGHTS SPIRITUAL Journey Speak your mind: Doing too much? Perhaps youre the one who plays host to the entire family gathering each year. As the Brussels sprouts steam, you seethe that you are once again slaving away in the kitchen.

Stop. Break the cycle by asking each family member to bring a dish, or assign tasks to people before the day. If you feel that Christmas has turned into a chore, be up front; unless you say that you find it all a challenge, your family cant be expected to know. Put yourself first: Feel you have to, but dont want to? We can often be emotionally pressured to participate in a family Christmas day, even when its not practical or we would rather do something else. We all want to fulfil our family obligations, but dont be afraid to say no occasionally. You can always offer to come for Boxing Day or New Years instead.


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