Day 5: Make your own traditions

Coping with Christmas

Big family get-togethers can trigger painful and conflicting emotions. A game plan on which you both agree can be a source of strength and support and help you manage those potentially awkward situations.

Be selective about accepting invitations – you don’t have to say yes to everything, especially if there are going to be lots of children or pregnant women. Restricting the time spent at the event can also help. Consider going just before the meal rather than the night before.

Prepare answers to difficult questions – decide in advance how you will handle difficult and insensitive questions; you may even want to rehearse your answers to prevent being caught off-guard.

Talk to your partner about how you both feel – it is easy to become upset about trivial things when you have a deeper underlying issue and this can be misunderstood as a form of rejection.

Make your own traditions – create a special ceremony or ritual that says that you and your partner are already a family, and that you can rejoice in your love for each other, with or without children.

Spend time doing things you like best – prepare a spectacular meal, take long walks, meet friends who don’t have children, go jogging, or curl up by a fire with a good novel. You may have to put up with comments like “how can you be so selfish?” or “the holiday won’t be the same without you.” But that may be easier to bear than a holiday table packed with children.

Express your appreciation – tell friends and relatives who have given you their love and support that you appreciate them. It is often difficult for them to say how they feel for the risk of upsetting you.

Capture the “spirit” of the holiday that makes it special – participate in activities that bring meaning to you at this time; create the joy intended in celebrating the holiday for its own sake.

To find out more about the support and counselling offered by Bourn Hall please click here.


Back to top

Related articles

Sort By Date
  • Coping with Christmas
    December 23, 2017
    Day 11: Be in the present
    Always thinking about what has been or anticipating what is to come can be...
  • self-compassion
    December 22, 2017
    Day 10: Take care of yourself
    Self-compassion is a good way to protect against depression.
  • Coping with Christmas
    December 19, 2017
    Day 8: Coping with friends getting pregnant when you’re not
    Your work colleague might have been trying for years to conceive.