For some, Xmas is a time of excitement and being with those we love.

For others it is a time of anxiety and being with those we have spent the entire year avoiding.

If you find yourself in the second category, then read on.

If you find yourself in the first category, lucky you. But still read on, so you can understand those who may not share your seasonal bonhomie!

There is an American tale that speaks of two travellers and a farmer.

The first traveller is walking towards a town when he sees a farmer working in his fields. The traveller stops to speak with the farmer and asks him:

“What kind of people live in the next town?”

In reply the farmer asks his own question

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?”

The traveller frowned and said

“They were mean, lazy and unkind. I have never met such a selfish group of people. I am glad to see the back of them.”

“Is that so?” said the farmer. “Well, I think you will find these townsfolk are similar.”

The first traveller hunched his shoulders, frowned again and continued on his way.

Some time later the second traveller stopped to speak to the farmer and asked the same question.

“What kind of people live in the next town?”

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.

The second traveller smiled and said “They were kind, thoughtful and caring. I was sad that I had to leave and will miss them hugely.

“Is that so?” said farmer. “Well, I think you will find these townsfolk are similar.”


Be like the second traveller. Think the best of those around you. Grumpy Uncle Joe’s frown and acerbic comments are more to do with his state of being, rather than anything you have done. And that cousin who always criticises everything? She will be trying to bring others down, to build up her own poor self-esteem.

Remember, you don’t have to attend every battle you are invited to.

It is also wise to remember that you cannot control everything about the Xmas festivities, even if they are in your own home. The sumptuous Xmas Day bbq might be rained off. Family members might be held up in traffic and the argument between your partners’ siblings were not caused by you. Unless they were and then shame on you!

If you find yourself ready to let rip with your most cutting comment, pause for a moment………… What is happening within yourself at this moment? Is that comment really necessary? Will you regret it once it has left your lips? At the time, it can be incredibly difficult to be calm and reasonable in the face of conflict. But in retrospect you will be glad you did.

If after checking in with yourself you find you still want to connect the trifle with Auntie Valerie’s face, pause again…..

Focus on your breathing. Consciously slow your breathing down. Distract yourself by counting the number of sounds in the room. As well as Aunt Valerie’s constant complaining, you might hear the sound of children laughing. Or your cat purring on Grandma’s lap. In the midst of turmoil and chaos, there will still be love and enjoyment.

And if none of this works, order our Champagne Breakfast hamper; pour yourself a glass and remember you don’t have to see them again for another year!

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