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Festive tensions: Arguments during the holidays are also an opportunity for reconciliation

Updated: Apr 27

The Christmas season is undoubtedly a time of joy, love and togetherness. But for many families and couples, it can also be a source of tension and conflict. Research shows that conflict is far from rare this festive period and various factors can contribute to it.


Arguments during the holidays are also an opportunity for reconciliation

A study conducted by the dating app Parship found that about 1/3 of couples surveyed reported arguing more often during the Christmas season than during others. The reasons for this are varied and range from stress from in-laws to unequal division of labor regarding the celebration of the holidays.


Another interesting aspect highlighted in this study is the role of family traditions. While for some people the observance of certain rituals and conflicts can arise when there are different ideas about how the holidays should be spent.


Martin Schweer from the University of Vechta names another source of Christmas conflicts: unresolved disputes that were not addressed during the year. These latent conflicts can come to a boil at Christmas dinner. Suddenly it's about topics like Generation Z, veganism or gender issues (Frankfurter Rundschau, December 29, 2023).


Conflicts flare up, especially at Christmas. For people from dysfunctional families, this can be a reason for not wanting to celebrate Christmas with the family. For the rest of the year, people in such families tend to try to stay away from each other and push conflicts away, explains psychologist Sandra Konrad in a Spiegel interview ( Spiegel , December 14, 2022). “For children from these families, the thought of Christmas does not cause any warm feelings “but fear, sadness, despair or loneliness,” says Konrad.


It is important to emphasize that despite potential conflict, the Christmas season can also be an opportunity for growth and reconciliation. Couples and families who are aware of potential sources of stress can work proactively to create a positive and harmonious atmosphere. This could include embracing compromise, setting realistic expectations, and intentionally cultivating interpersonal relationships.


Overall, studies make it clear that conflicts in families and couples are not uncommon during the Christmas season. However, identifying potential stressors and being willing to actively work toward a solution can help make the festive season a time of joy and togetherness for everyone involved.

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