Managing all the Christmas pitfalls

Christmas might be a time of celebration, but less pleasant situations sometimes cast a shadow over this period and force us to make choices to avoid them.

You celebrate with your family, visit relatives and share special moments with your loved ones? It’s great if everything is looking good at home! But for those of you who are already starting to stress at the idea of facing family arguments, cigarette smoke or unwanted cheek-pinching, here are some examples of problematic situations and advice on how to manage them.

Break ups in the family

You are separated
Did you recently separate from your spouse and this will be your first solo Christmas? At this point, you probably already had a few discussions about who will have the kids for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Your traditional holiday routine will most probably be turned upside down.

What to do?
Create new rituals. For example, if you have the kids on Christmas day instead of Christmas Eve, you could have a pyjama-brunch-gifts Christmas morning! And for the times you’ll be alone, choose activities that you enjoy (DVD, book, bubble bath, massage, night out with another single mom, etc.) or buy yourself a little treat (flowers, chocolates, etc.) to avoid getting the Holiday blues.

The grandparents are separated
If your own parents have separated and you can’t decide whether to bring your kids at nana’s or grandpa’s, it could cause a major headache.

What to do?
Try to discuss about it openly with each of your parents. Essayez d’en discuter ouvertement avec chacun de vos parents. Tell them how important they are to you and your children and propose to find some middle ground that would work for everyone. Try not to feel guilty about the fact that one or both of your parents will be alone on the night you used to spend all together as a family, and try to make the most of your time together anyway.

Food allergies

Your children have food allergies? Have you been invited to a big family reunion where you’ll find a large buffet? You’re probably anxious at the thought of your kids coming in contact with an allergenic food and having a major reaction to it.

What to do?
In a perfect world, you would simply notify the hosts about your kids’ allergies. They could then take it into consideration when deciding what types of food to serve and let others guests know about the possible consequences of cross-contamination. In reality though, it can be quite complicated to do so, especially with relatives you only see once a year and who may not be too sensitive to your children’s allergies. In that case, prepare a cool picnic basket and share this festive buffet with your kids while still enjoying the party

No smoking in my house!

Another situation that sometimes causes problems and conflicts among family members: cigarettes. You don’t want your children to be exposed to cigarette smoke, but you are invited to a party where there will be many smokers?

What to do?
You can obviously choose not to go, or decide to host your own party and tell your guests that smoking will only be tolerated outside. You could also find a neutral place for the party: a restaurant or reception hall for example. These places are now all smoke-free, but better check just to make sure ! With this option, you’ll avoid having to get involved personally and face a situation that could cause frustrations to some smokers. Oh well!

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