Surviving The Festive Season

One of the most difficult times for many relationships is the Christmas holiday season. On the surface it seems like a time of joy and celebration, where you get to spend quality time and create special memories with your partner and family. But the reality is often quite different. Stress, conflict and tension often accompany the fun times, and can turn the holiday season into a nightmare.

The festive season can create many unique stressors that often bring out the worst in people. This then creates tension which can easily and quickly erupt into conflict. Some of these stressors include (but are certainly not limited to);

  • Dealing with extended family members who push your buttons and create anxiety within you
  • Preparing for family get-togethers and/or holidays that take significant time and effort
  • Feeling overwhelmed as the majority of responsibility for these tasks has been left to you
  • Dealing with the needs of children on holidays who demand your constant attention
  • Trying to please everyone else and feeling like you are not receiving as much as you are giving
  • Excessive alcohol consumption creating uncomfortable confrontations and unruly behaviour

All of these factors can place a lot of strain on a relationship, and if you have kids it can also impact on their enjoyment of what should be the time of their lives. How you respond to and deal with these stressful situations will be a huge factor in the dynamics of your relationship, both with your partner and your kids.

What can you do to minimise the impact of these holiday season events on both yourself and your relationship? Below are some suggestions that may help:

  • Plan ahead as to what needs to be done and what the requirements are. Don’t leave things to the last minute. Make a list to ensure nothing gets forgotten.
  • Discuss with your partner the division of roles and responsibilities over this period. This may involve a bit of give and take and perhaps some bargaining, but it’s important to have this set out from the beginning rather than dealing with each situation as it arises.
  • Recognise in advance what triggers are likely to appear and when. How have things evolved in previous years? Then discuss with your partner how to best deal with them prior to them happening. This will ensure that you are prepared for any issues or conflict, and have potential solutions that will enable you to handle them with less stress and frustration.
  • Ensure that you and your partner are on the same team. If there are problems with the in-laws, make sure that you express this to your partner and convey the importance to you of them having your back and supporting you. Alternatively, make sure that you find out what issues your partner may face with your family and ensure that you are there to support them if anything does arise.
  • When around family, make sure that you discuss positive things that your partner has done/is doing. Also, showing them affection around friends and family is one of the most powerful things you can do to strengthen your relationship.
  • Make sure you find some time just for yourselves in amongst the craziness. Finding some space either together, or even alone, can really help de-stress and calm you down. Try to do something that helps you feel re-invigorated, such as a walk on a beach, a massage, a game of golf, or a trip to a winery or nice restaurant.
  • Ask how your partner is going. If they are struggling to cope with all the expectations and pressure then ask how you can help them out.
  • Be attentive to your partner’s well-being. Don’t wait for them to come to you. If you sense that they are becoming stressed or overwhelmed, jump in and help out however you can. Sometimes people can take on too much and feel uncomfortable asking for help. Often just knowing that you are thinking of them and are there to support them if needed is enough.

This holiday season needn’t be something to dread.  With a little planning and some solid teamwork you can make this year your most joyous one yet!

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from Happy and Healthy Relationships


If the holiday season has taken its toll on your relationship, you can book a free introductory consultation with Happy and Healthy Relationships. Please contact Matt on 0416 211 424, email  or visit

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