Navigating Family Dynamics this Christmas.

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From the moment we are old enough to understand the concept of Christmas, we are told that it is a time for family, friends, community, and celebration. Every year, this message is consistently reinforced wherever we look, whether it be a TV Christmas special, an advertisement, or on social media. But while Christmas itself remains largely unchanged, our experience of it depends on where we are in our personal lives.

As we grow older, we realise it is not Santa that we miss most, but the people and relationships we may have taken for granted. Change may be inevitable, but it is not always predictable, and Christmas can be one of the most difficult times for people who have recently experienced a drastic change in their personal lives.

Long Distance Relationships

Whether you moved away or they did, plenty of families will spend Christmas apart each year. But the fact that you are not physically together does not mean you can’t celebrate together. The first thing you can do is pick a time that works for everyone and arrange a video call. But it doesn’t have to end there. You could also use apps to play classic Christmas games such as Pictionary online, which could really help to increase feelings of fun and engagement.

Other ways to take part from afar are to send cards or presents in advance of the day. In all likelihood, you could even save time, money, and worry by ordering online from a business located near them. If you want something that really stands out, why not send some flowers too?


The first Christmas after a significant loss can be tough. The first thing we need to do is accept the fact that things have changed, and we can’t change them back. The next step is to decide how to move forward. Some people will find it easier to make a complete change and start fresh. Others will prefer to keep things as traditional as possible. Whatever you decide, it is a good idea to set aside some time on Christmas day for you or others to remember those you have lost, be that a visit to a grave in the morning, a toast at dinner, or even just a moment in private.

Strained Relationships

Sometimes the issue is who will be there, not who won’t be. Christmas is often a time when we see our more distant or disagreeable relatives, which can leave us in dread as the day approaches. Try to remember that family in-fighting is a near universal experience older than Christmas itself. Most people genuinely just want to enjoy the day, so try to go in with a positive outlook, keep your interactions with any problem-players as short and sweet as possible, and try to avoid any controversial topics such as politics.

Christmas family dynamics have always been difficult to navigate, but the right frame of mind and a little planning-ahead can go a long way in making the most out of almost any situation. So whatever your situation may be, try to make the most of it, and have a Merry Christmas.

If you’re dealing with loneliness or isolation, and are interested in low-cost counselling, please get in touch with us today.