“Not puréeing your loved ones – that’s the tricky part!” – Basil Fawlty


OK, so a lot of us will be joining family for ‘The Dinner’. And for a lot of us that’s super cool and lovely and something we look forward to and truly relish.

For some of us though, that dinner is the most 'Hell' part of Christmas. Sitting with, eating with and spending time with people that drive us nuts, push our buttons, trigger us....at worst, we are sitting with people that are harmful. tweet to another dinner eater

So I’ll keep this brief, you’ve enough to be doing I’m sure!

You can take care of yourself by doing these little things:

1. Be Mindful your Mouth – and I don’t mean with the yummy mince pies and cake! If you have grievances with family members, now might feel like the time to air them. But is it really?

Ask yourself this: how will what I'm dying to say, benefit me if I say it now? What, truly, would be the purpose? tweet to another Christmas-dinner-eater
Careful with the drama!
Careful with the drama!

If it’s simply to vent, or embarrass or punish someone, it will likely backfire, and mostly on you. #beenthere

2. Be Mindful of your Ears –  Be aware that others around you are also being triggered and emotions are high. Someone might say something to you that doesn’t sit well, or that is downright abusive.

How you respond is your choice. You might be fantasise about reaching over, grabbing that carving knife…. But in real life, choose your response with your safety and wellbeing in mind. Again, as yourself – What is the purpose of responding? What do I want to achieve? Is this the best way to get there?  Remember that if you are asked a question that feels invasive, you needn’t answer it.

Ho ho ho!!

3. Have an Escape Plan –  if you need to leave, if it’s too much, know that it’s OK to leave. It may not be the ‘done thing’, but it really is OK. Give yourself the permission and the means to leave.  By ‘means’ I mean: ensure you can leave by not drinking if you need to drive, and by having somewhere else to go, even just for a few hours. Even for a walk.

4. Watch the alcohol. We make poorer decisions when we drink –  fact. And during a day like Christmas, a big long emotional, tiring day, there is more potential for drinking and losing track of that drink.  Because you might start early, you’re not paying for it with cash, and also because one of the mantras is “ah sure it’s Christmas g’wan have another –  add a dash of Brandy in it while you’re at it!!”. Before you know it your ability to do 1, 2 & 3 is compromised, and you’re feeling a lot more irritated or defensive  or ____________________ (insert random unpleasant feeling here!) than usual.


Take care of yourselves this Christmas and I hope that you have a nurturing, happy and fun Christmas and that you can surround yourself with people who love and deserve you!


Sally O'Reilly Counselling & Psychotherapy

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