Debt, in-laws you can’t get along with, stepchildren that make life difficult and the winter blues are just a few of the obstacles which can leave you feeling a little more Scrooge than the bringer of Christmas cheer.
Psychotherapist and clinical advisor to Counselling Directory, Jules McClean has been talking to the Daily Mail about how to best tackle certain dilemmas so you can still have the happiest Christmas possible.
Dilemma one: My parents treat me like I’m a teenager
I’m spending Christmas at my parents’ house with my husband and children. As soon as I get there, I know I’ll feel like a 14-year-old again, though I’m 42. It takes only a look from Mum or a tut from Dad, and I feel like screaming. Why does this happen?
Jules: We often revert to being a child as soon as we are with our parents. This situation dredges up feelings from when you had no independence, and your parents felt they were in control. For them to see you as a grown-up, you need to stay in your ‘adult’ persona. They are not going to change their habits, but you can.
Dilemma two: Religious differences
My husband’s family are religious and we’re expected to go to Midnight Mass and church on Christmas morning. How can I avoid this without being rude?
Jules: Be assertive, not confrontational. Try saying: ‘I really value your traditions, but I don’t hold the same views, so I’ll stay behind.’ What the other person hears is respect for their rituals and feelings, which helps them to understand your point of view.
Dilemma three: The children have chosen to spend Christmas elsewhere
My daughter has announced that she’s spending Christmas with her boyfriend’s family. I feel like cancelling Christmas, because if it’s just going to be me and my husband, I can’t see the point.
Jules: Do something different this year so you don’t miss your daughter too much — go out for lunch, take a long walk, visit friends. Spend quality holiday time with your husband and then look forward to seeing your daughter in the New Year. If you’re adult about this, she can feel free to do what she feels is right for her. Next year, you may well find that you are together again.
If you would like to view the full article which features additional tips and advice from other industry experts then please click here. In addition, if you would like to contact a counsellor in your local area for confidential advice and support, please visit the homepage where you can use the search tool to locate a qualified professional.