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Lessons to be learnt for next Christmas

Christmas is over, the decorations have been put away for another year and we are well into the start of the New Year.

Whilst many will miss the celebrations and yuletide magic, for some people the farewell to stress and difficulties that arise over family issues during the festive season is more than welcome.

But before we forget about Christmas for another year, what can we learn so that we don’t have to repeat it all in twelve months’ time?  Eric Robinson Solicitor’s newest recruit to the firm’s Family Team, Catherine Day, offers her Top Tips for Christmas 2017.Plan in Advance

You know Christmas is coming. It is the same time every year.  Even the supermarkets help you out by displaying decorations and ‘seasonal’ treats in August.  If you share care of your children, you should discuss Christmas arrangements as early as possible in order to manage the expectations of families on both sides.  The end of August/beginning of September is a good time, but if things have been mentioned after last Christmas, why not follow up and agree them now?

If things are too difficult or emotionally raw, you can always book in for professional mediation to make arrangements and look into how to formalise them, but give the process plenty of time. Once you have a plan, you will find the run up to Christmas much more relaxed and enjoyable.Communication

It is always a good idea to get the involvement and agreement of your children once a plan has been formulated. At what point they become involved in the process is up to you, but usually depends on their age.

Once arrangements have been made, make sure everyone knows. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins will all want to see your children over the festivities and if they know when they will have their opportunity, then can fit it into their plans without disappointment.Keep Perspective

You know what they say about ‘best laid plans’?  Children get poorly, weather is unpredictable and plans have to change. Christmas can be a lovely time, but it is just a day and it happens every year. Take a deep breath and ask yourself if things are as important as they initially seem.Coping with Change

Whether you are separated, divorced or without your children, next Christmas might be a challenging time for you. Give some thought as to what kind of day will help you enjoy it the most. Perhaps opening up your home to others in your position and cooking for twenty? Accepting an invitation to someone else’s house? Maybe you would like to stay in a hotel and order room service in-front of the TV?

For most people, keeping busy is a good strategy – book time with your nearest and dearest, whether it be family, friends, pets or doing activities you’ve never been able to do in previous years like volunteering in a shelter. Focus on your well-being.Give Yourself A Break

At a time famous for goodwill to others, save some for yourself. Christmas doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ and everyone has a different idea of what that means anyway. Keep it simple, don’t feel pressured and celebrate as you want to!


Catherine Day is based in Eric Robinson Solicitors’ Lymington office and can be contacted on 01590 647670 or