If you are one of those fortunate enough to spend Christmas alone, it will be memorable to share the joy with your loved ones. 

However, in any family that hosts a holiday, there is inevitably a lot of pressure. An excess of alcohol and bitterness over the lack of presents can make all the goodwill and cheer quickly disappear.  

Psychotherapist Neil Wilkie, who is the author of the Relationship Paradigm book series, shared the five most common types of argument families have on Christmas Day and how to avoid them. 

His explanation was that simple, seemingly innocent actions such as looking at your phone and leaving your shoes near the door could quickly create tension leading to an explosive row. 

He said that Christmas can become a “real powder keg” where unrealistic expectations and disappointments combine, creating an explosion in frustration. 

Here, FEMAIL reveals The most frequent arguments between families during Christmas, as well as advice for making Christmas Day a relaxing and peaceful occasion. 

Psychotherapist Neil Wilkie, author of the Relationship Paradigm book series, shared with FEMAIL the five most common types of argument families have on Christmas Day (stock image)

Neil Wilkie, a psychotherapist and author of Relationship Paradigm, has shared five of the most frequent types of arguments that families engage in on Christmas Day. (stock photo)

Take care of your immediate environment.

They often reflect different priorities or different values. A teenager might just wish to get in the home and continue their computer or phone chat. 

Because they travel the most distance and are easily found, the easiest place to store shoes is at the front door. It’s hard for them to understand their parents complaining because they believe they are right.

This is often the result of their childhood. It’s about showing respect to each other. 

A couple of shoes that are left unattended in the hall, instead of in the high-end shoe rack, can be taken to mean, “I don’t really care about you. I’m disrespecting your hard work. We have very different values.”

Parting the responsibility:

What to do to prevent arguments from happening and how you can overcome them. 

What to do on Christmas Day?

  • You can take control of your emotions and recognize your red button.
  • These situations are not real. They can only be perceived. Each person will have their own perceptions.
  • About 60% of all disagreements among couples never end in a settlement, which means there’s no one-size fits all solution.
  • You might also want to ask: Would you rather be happy, or do you prefer being right?
  • Intermission between stimulus response

Here are some ways to prevent future arguments  

  • You can have uninterrupted conversations and listening sessions with your partner.
  • You can ask your child what their feelings are if you feel they’re not content.
  • You can have a weekly meeting called the “state of union” where everyone shares three things they are proud to share with each other in the past week as well one suggestion for improvement.
  • The best way to deal with problems is quickly and honestly.
  • Explain why you are annoyed by something, like shoes that have piled up at the front door.

What to do if there is an argument?  

  • You can activate your brain by pressing the Pause button. After you calm down, say that you will return to continue the discussion for at most 20 minutes.
  • You might suggest to someone else that they activate their activation.
  • Try to understand what they have to say and listen carefully.
  • Ask the person how they feel about the problem and then keep your eyes on them.
  • Once they have finished, summarise what you have heard and say that you understand their perspective (but you don’t have to agree)
  • Next, discuss ways to resolve the issue and then agree on actions.

It is about how one feels about having to work harder to maintain the household. Either one or both of the parents might feel they’re the ones who load the dishwasher or put the washer on.

It is also about role conflict and imbalance where one is feeling that there has become a master – servant relationship. Dissonance can result when a parent believes they are doing hard but the “lazy, ungrateful” child lives in luxury. 

It can happen because the parents felt exploited in childhood, and they don’t wish their children to feel the same.

It is important to establish boundaries early so all family members feel like they are part of a group with shared goals.

You can connect with others by being ‘always on your phone’

Healthy relationships require connection. Resentment will arise when a parent believes that an inanimate object receives more attention than their child. 

They will be rejected if they are not able to link such things as “how was your day?”  

Studies show that there should be six positive responses for each negative response to any bid to connect. A lot of grunts can lead to severe overdrawning in the “us bank account”.

Communication: “You are not listening to my voice”

You are distracted by your smartphone, TV, or other distractions that distract you from what I’m trying to say. 

How important do you consider me in your life? It will cause the person listening to you to feel unimportant and upset. 

The attempt to communicate becomes more pointed. They may be made with sharp complaints, rather than conversation.

Financial: You’ve spent our money

Conflict between families and money is something that is constant, even for the wealthy. 

Sometimes people want more than what they actually have, and think that purchasing stuff can bring happiness. Truth is, there’s always another diamond or a better Ferrari.

Everyone in a family is likely to have their own dreams and priorities. They may also attach different meanings or values to purchasing’stuff. The three-year repayments will not be worth it for one person. However, they may feel the dopamine rush of the new iPhone. This will prove to be a terrible waste of money for another person.

Family money is the place where dreams and values meet and cause dissonance.

These are the reasons these problems become arguments.   

These arguments are common because people don’t discuss their feelings calmly.

Every person has a unique perspective and may not be able to see the same situation from another.

It is possible for resentments to fester, and eventually explode in an attack against the other party. All parties will immediately go into defensive mode, the argumentation will intensify, with each party activating fight, flight, or freeze mode, where listening and reason dissipate. This will ensure that no solution is found.