Relate’s guide to avoiding bust – ups over the festive season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas is coming.The  high streets are getting busy with festive shoppers and across Devon people are dusting off the decorations. But for some, Christmas is an extremely stressful and emotional period and a time that families have come to dread.

This Christmas, Relate in Devon is asking people across the county to put a ‘Harmonious Christmas’ at the top of their Christmas wish list. And to help, Relate’s counsellors have put together the following tips to help families keep the peace this festive season:

For a lot of people this Christmas, money will be tight, so try not to succumb to the pressure and spend more than you can afford.Getting into a mountain of debt is not a good way to start the New Year.

Who goes where and when can be a huge issue for parents who have split up and for step families, especially if you are at loggerheads. As hard as it is, try and keep as calm as possible and keep your children’s best interests at heart.

Turn the telly off. It’s easy to ‘veg out’ in front of the TV over Christmas, its cold outside and the sofa is very inviting after all the rush and hard work. Look out some board games to play, go for a walk, have some family/ together time.

Remember family members who might be alone, or who find the festive period difficult. Just popping in or giving them a call can really help.

Don’t feel you have to do everything yourself. Share out tasks amongst your family and friends.

We all like to toast Christmas with a nice glass or two, but if there is any tension in your family then steer clear of alcohol, it will only aggravate the situation.

Remember to have fun! Christmas can be a very hectic time, especially if you have kids, so make sure you plan in some time for yourself and give yourself some treats. If things get a bit heated, head out for a long walk – fresh air and exercise are a great antidote for tension.

Veronica Beckett of Relate Exeter and District says, “The period after Christmas is the busiest time for Relate so we know and understand the pressures people are facing. If the festive season is getting too much for you, then make sure you talk to someone, your partner, a friend, your family. Or come and see one of our counsellors, by calling

0300 7729681 or visiting

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