10 Most Common Holiday Fights
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Yuletide Tiffs1 of 11
During the holidays we come together to catch up with loved ones, practice family traditions and celebrate life. But the season of good cheer is not always cheerful. We get stressed and, unfortunately, the closest target for those frustrations is often our partners. Here are ten common fights couples have during the holidays and how to avoid them.
The In-Law Fight2 of 11
His mom hates your cooking—he says she's just being helpful. How to fix: Address her directly, with this nonthreatening formula: "I feel [insert your feeling here] when you [her action here]. Please [what you want her to do]." Example: "I feel bad when you criticize my cooking. Please don't tell me my food is awful, even if you don't like it."
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The Money Fight3 of 11
You want to throw a holiday party; he says you can't afford it. How to fix: Create a budget in advance that takes into account all holiday-related expenses, including gifts, travel and entertaining. Decide how much you'll spend on each category and don't deviate.
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The Travel Fight4 of 11
You missed your flight — because he couldn't find his scarf. How to fix: Travel is stressful for everyone, and in frustration we lash out at the nearest person — usually our spouse. Try to avoid placing blame, and remember, he's upset about missing the flight too.
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The Location Fight5 of 11
He wants to spend the holidays with his family; you want to spend it with yours. How to fix: Find a compromise, which means both of you have to give a little. "Understand that blending two families isn't going to happen overnight,” YourTango Expert Lisa Steadman says. “You may still want to maintain your own family traditions separately at first. This is healthy and normal."
The Gift Fight6 of 11
You got him an iPad and he got you … a $25 gift card. How to fix: "Discuss what holiday gift-giving means to you within your budget," says YourTango Expert Julie Spira. Agree ahead of time on a ballpark amount of what you'll spend and on the nature of your gifts.
The Family Fight7 of 11
You feel smothered by his family; he doesn't understand your "problem." How to fix: Take some time for yourself. Exercise, offer to walk the dog or volunteer at a soup kitchen. He can't be mad at you for doing good!
The Kids Fight8 of 11
You want to buy the kids the gifts they want. He says you're spoiling them. How to fix: Create a gift list together. Limit yourself to one or two fancy gifts, and let him buy the inexpensive ones. Don't buy anything that's not on the list.
The Traditions Fight9 of 11
He wants to skip the Christmas carols this year; you don't. How to fix: Explain why this tradition is important to you, and try to understand why he wants to skip it. This two-way empathy should help you discuss without arguing and hopefully find a middle ground.
The Time Fight10 of 11
He says you're working too much; you say you're trying to earn a big bonus to pay for all your holiday expenses. How to fix: Plan some family- or couple-oriented activities and put them on your calendar — in red ink. He'll feel good knowing you've committed time to him, and you'll feel good knowing you can work the rest of the time.
The Exhaustion Fight11 of 11
One or both of you is exhausted — and you take it out on each other. How to fix: When you feel yourself getting angry, ask yourself, "Am I really mad at him or am I just stressed in general?" YourTango Expert Dr. Carolyn Daitch recommends this exercise: "Take five deep breaths, inhaling to the count of five and exhaling to the count of eight."
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