How To Avoid Family Conflicts at Christmas

It’s amazing how family conflicts surface around Christmas time. Dr. Mary Casey, Founder and CEO of The Casey Centre shares her survival tips.

There are so many reasons for this. In my opinion, major Christmas conflict generally stems from people who need to control situations. Don’t you just love the mother or mother-in-law who expects the family members to come to their place for lunch? It’s all about them!

They have no consideration for the fact that you have your own family and your children want to stay home and enjoy their presents, or you and significant other want to have a few more drinks than usual, so you don’t want to drive.

The best solution that I can see is for people to simply do what is best for them. Let go of the guilt trip that the other person (whoever it may be) puts you on. Buy out of their manipulation altogether. Avoiding conflict can be easier said than done therefore learning what to say and how to say it will help.

For instance, your sister may ask you over for breakfast. She is a little bit aggro at the best of times and you know that if you say no, she won’t talk to you and she’ll ‘feel hurt’…this is manipulation by the way. Family dynamics are amazing aren’t they?

Learning assertiveness, in my opinion, is the key to resolving the ‘conflict at Christmas’ saga.
So you would say something like, “That’s so kind of you, thank you so much but we can’t make it.” You do not have to give an explanation. Keep this in mind when you feel as though you must explain, this is a perfect lesson for you. You simply don’t need to! Not ever.

Anyone who has respect for you accepts, “thank you but I can’t”. If they don’t accept that for an answer, then they don’t respect your decision, your position or you personally.

Respect is a major contributing factor.This applies to everyone. What others do is none of your business and what you do is none of their business, regardless of who they are or how closely related they are.

I believe that we all need to make a paradigm shift. There are no rules that dictate where you should be at Christmas, only someone else’s beliefs and values.

By Dr. Mary Casey, Founder and CEO of

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Posted by Gail72Report
Oh Dear!
You are quite right, however, you are also unbelievably selfish. I have been lucky enough to know that 25 December is just a date and what my children do IS their business - not so some others in the family - but surely a Christian or perhaps Christmas attitude is NOT about me, me, me on EITHER side. In the past - I'm 70, so I remember - this was a family getting together time and that was that. To expect in-laws and parents who might be as old as I am, to just sit back and say OK this day is just for you - I am quite happy to sit this one out from now on. The fact that I have shared my Christmas with you for the last 20, 30, 40 or maybe even 50 years - sometimes with the most inconvenience - does not count for anything - I could not be selfish enough to ask you to share with me now. Oh Well, as a teacher I have seen this selfishness appear in the children of today in all sorts of ways, so this is just another. Remember, though, you will be old one day and maybe ......... Good luck to you all on THE DAY.