Relationship expert Anna Williamson has revealed the solution for an argument-free family Christmas, but it's easier said than done.
Navigating the festive season can have its challenges, whether it's families dealing with autism at Christmas or millennials begging parents to keep their anxieties to themselves and not forgetting the five most common arguments couples have at Christmas - the pressure is real. And the closer to Christmas it gets, the more stressed you can become.
While there are hacks you can use like George Clooney’s genius parenting hack to help keep your kids in check in the run-up to Christmas and once the big day itself is upon us, it's only natural that families who spend more time with relatives that they've not seen in a while can cause some conflicts.
Anna Williamson, is a mum of two to her son Vincenzo, aged seven, and daughter Eleanora, aged three-and-a-half, with husband Alex Di Pasquale. And while she's looking to host a huge family Christmas for the first time this year - cooking for 16 - she's got the perfect relationship 'toolbox' tips for avoiding huge bust-ups over the festive season.
Many parents will be putting the finishing touches to their ready-made plans or be close to ripping them up in favour of going with the flow, Anna has a solution for anyone who might be worrying about coming face to face with the dreaded family arguments but would you be able to put it into practice?
Shealso tells us about what top Christmas toys her kids want for Christmas and how she juggles parenting with all the festive prep...
What toys do your kids want this year from Santa?
"My littlest (Eleanora) is obsessed with make-up but she wants children's make-up, which I don’t know how I feel about that or anything that’s Bluey - she’s Bluey obsessed. My son (Vincenzo) wants anything ninja-related or some massive Hot Wheels monstrosity that costs about £70 and takes up half a room."
How do you plan Christmas as a working parent?
Are you well-prepped or last minute and what are your tips for Christmas shopping with kids in tow?
"I’m normally last minute, we’ve always filmed Celebs Go Dating quite close to Christmas but this year we’ve moved the filming to earlier in the year which has been quite helpful. For the first time, we are hosting Christmas this year for 16 of our family. We’re going to have to get a customised table but this year it’s all about the prep - get it all prepped, bought for, and wrapped by the 1st of December so I can then chill and enjoy otherwise I will have an absolute breakdown.
"I keep kids well out of the shops, it’s just chaotic, it’s “Can I have?” “Can I have?” my husband and I tend to do one massive kids shop at a Smyth's toy superstore, and then I do an awful lot online. I’d like to do one festive Christmas shopping day to soak up the atmosphere but other than that I just tend to do what’s necessary online.”
What's your biggest tip for maintaining family relationships over the festive season?
Things to do / things to avoid arguments.
"The biggest tip is to just hold your tongue. Pick your battles, it can be a very emotional testing time of year as well as a joyful one, not everybody loves Christmas some people in my family hate Christmas, but some love Christmas so I think it’s important to stick with your tribe, if you stick with the ones in the same throws as you and just do you.
"You’re probably going to be around people you’re not normally around, visiting family and friends. You’re not going to have the same opinions around certain things someone will always have too much to drink and my advice is to just keep your mouth shut.
"If you don’t like it and it’s not going to affect you in the long-term just say nothing and move on. For me, it’s about focusing on the good bits of Christmas and doing Christmas your way. Ignoring what everyone else is doing, how much or not they are spending, what’s important to you at Christmas, and just focus on that. "
Credit: Relationship Expert & Counsellor Anna Williamson @annawilliamsonofficial
In other family news, did you know that new research shows men manage just four out of 23 tasks during Christmas if that's not enough to cause an argument, there's the mental load that's falling heavy at this time of year.
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Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)
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