Blathin de Paor shares some advice on how to avoid family drama this festive season.

It’s that time of year again! While most of us look forward to the festive season and good times with family, even the closest of bonds are tested when cabin fever sets in and tensions start to run high.  Below are some top tips to keep you sane and minimise family drama this Christmas time.

Don’t over-inflate your expectations

Don’t expect to have the perfect Christmas, no one does and you’re only setting your expectations up for failure. There will likely be some horrendous hangovers, dodgy presents and a family member that is tempting you to violence but hopefully there will also be a lot of laughs and some great family time. If something doesn’t go exactly to plan it isn’t the end of the world, just try to go with the flow.

Take some time out

If you live away from home, you are probably used to doing things on your own terms. Much as you love your family after some extended time together cabin fever can set in.  Having some time to yourself can give you  valuable breathing space and allow any simmering tension time to dissipate.  If there is nowhere to get some time out at home, consider going to bed later or getting up earlier then everyone else to hog the TV in peace for a while to relax, or else use any family pets/exercise as your saviour and head out for a walk or a run.  Not only will you get a chance to let off some steam, you’ll get the added benefit of exercise endorphins which will put you in a better place to return to the madhouse!

It’s nice to be nice

They say prevention is better than cure, the same goes for avoiding family drama.  Offering unexpected good deeds over Christmas generates good will and also encourages family members to return the favour. Help your mother out with some of the Christmas preparations and she won’t need to nag this year. Lend your sibling that item they’ve wanted to borrow and they won’t steal it, leading to World War III and you both being in trouble with your parents. A little goes a long way and it is the season of good will after all.

Fake it until you make it

There is always that one family member who will hate the present you spent ages picking out, criticises everything you do all Christmas and just generally drives you mad. With each annoyance it becomes harder to hold it in and inevitable someone comes to blows.  However when it does come to a head it can be as simple as them eating the last of your selection box and do we really want to be that petty?  As hard as it is, try and take a deep breath and ignore the annoyances over Christmas, the more you ignore it the easier it gets until hopefully the comments that would have led to a smack down will be like water off a duck’s back. 

Find your happy place

If all the above fails, have a backup as a last resort to violence upon your siblings.  Find your happy place, it may be alcohol, chocolate, or even a picture of Ryan Gosling. Whatever it is, have it on standby for those times when you cannot take anymore and use it to regain your peace of mind. Also remember Christmas is only a week, it will be over before you know it and then you’ll be counting down to the next one with glee again.

Follow Blathin on Twitter: @BlathinDePaor.