Meals, news, gifts: how to approach Christmas Eve peacefully

Meals, news, gifts: how to approach Christmas Eve peacefully

These are undoubtedly the most anticipated holidays of the year, and yet… They crystallize as many expectations as fears. The end of year celebrations are synonymous with pleasure, sharing, and conviviality, but can also quickly turn sour, due to current events, a complaining guest, overly pressing (and even oppressive) questions, or even the menu. Johanna Rozenblum, clinical psychologist and author of the book “Decondition Yourself!”, gives valuable advice for avoiding conflicts during this festive evening, or at least managing to deal with them.

Harmony, sharing, good humor… We expect a lot from the end-of-year celebrations that we tend to idealize. Should we set the bar lower to avoid being disappointed?

Disappointment often lives up to expectations. If we expect the end-of-year celebrations to come to repair suffering, replay the past, or put conflicts on hold, for example, the risk is that the dream will be undermined by reality which does not is not always what we want.

The current crises, whether economic, environmental, or geopolitical, will not help to have peaceful meals. Should we absolutely avoid these topics?

There are often tacit contracts during these types of family celebrations. Everyone wishing to spend a peaceful moment will be keen not to discuss, during a meal, any subjects that are annoying.

And if, despite everything, they were put on the table, how to manage this kind of situation?

There are different ways to handle a situation that could create tension. We can, for example, openly indicate that it is not the time, or respond with a touch of humor to kick things in. It is also possible – quite simply – not to raise the subject.

We always tend to want to avoid these conflicts, but ultimately isn’t it healthy to debate, animatedly or not, on current issues, no matter the occasion?

Yes obviously, it is always healthy to be able to discuss these subjects, and it remains possible to discuss all subjects during the end-of-year holidays. It’s more about how each family experiences these moments. Some consider that the end of year celebrations are no exception and that current affairs debates remain possible, others prefer to put aside everyday life for one evening to devote themselves to family, their faith or to the magic of Christmas, for example.

Beforehand, are there things you can do, yourself or your loved ones, so that the holidays take place under the best auspices?

Everyone generally knows what creates tension in them. Knowingly, it is therefore possible not to fall into the trap of falling into the invective of a polemical uncle, a complaining parent, or anyone who, even unconsciously, would create a tense climate.

They should be synonymous with pleasure and happiness, but gifts can actually cause, if not conflict, disappointment or frustration. How to handle this particular situation?

The adult is supposed to be able to easily manage this type of situation and consider that the intention takes precedence over the value of the gift. For children, learning to tolerate frustration is an exercise that is part of their education. It is the role of parents to help the child tolerate the emotions that he manages poorly by verbalizing, listening to the child and helping him to see the situation in another way.

There is also the stress generated by preparing the meal and receiving guests, even though these celebrations are synonymous with pleasure… How can we avoid exhaustion, physical and emotional, on New Year’s Eve itself?

The party must remain a party! If it turns into a constraint, you have to know how to ask for help, or delegate by involving more people in the smooth running of the events.

What three tips would you give to families to have a peaceful holiday?

Respect everyone’s well-being by putting aside issues of tension for one evening, take advantage of each other by realizing that it is a chance to be reunited, and finally create good memories for all generations. of the family so that these moments remain moments awaited every year.

*”Decondition yourself! – Understand everything about the thought patterns that lock us in” by Johanna Rozenblum – Le Courrier du Livre.