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Your family survival guide for Christmas

Some tips for how to handle your relatives – and yourself – this festive season.

As the saying goes, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. Christmas is a time to be together, but it’s not always easy having so many similar (or different) people in one room. Follow these simple rules and you’re more likely to sail into 2017 without any family feuds.

Keep it convenient
Avoid the excessive dishes, hours of hot cooking and the potential of pa-rum-pum-pum-pum by keeping the menu simple. Par-cooked, pre-chopped and instant anythings are totally allowed and no one needs to know! Just be sure to hide the packaging from your snooping aunty.

Remember the spirit of the season
When it comes to the part of the holiday when everyone gathers under the Christmas tree to open gifts, try to remind yourself that it’s the season for giving, not for getting. Even if your brother’s arrived empty handed – again – and your gran’s regifted you the same perfume you gave her last year, find your joy in picking out gifts and expect nothing in return.

Have a designated ‘kid zone’
Some of the best Christmas memories are made when all the cousins come together around the holidays. For the adults, though, this much pa-rum-pum-pum-pum might be the thing to fray your last nerve. Set up a dedicated area where the kids are allowed to go wild and enjoy themselves, but where you can still keep an eye on them.

Try plan B
If you’re worried that having all of your family in the same room is a recipe for disaster, consider planning an activity that might distract from the tension. A cooperative board game or watching a funny movie together might do well to bring the family closer.

Meg de Jong