With money worries, family issues and the general stress of having everything in on time - there are endless reasons couples fight at Christmas.
Did you know that solicitors secretly call the first working Monday of January "Divorce Day" as couples land back into reality with a thump, having spent an entire Christmas bickering? Reasons couples fight at Christmas can differ from couple to couple, however, they're often caused by the same factors - exhaustion, stress and hyper kids.
But the good news is that by simply recognising the pattern of these fights, you can nip the fights in the bud before they get out of hand.
Here are the five most common Christmas fights (with an three more bonus ones at the bottom!)– and how to avoid them:
The mother-in-law fight.
Your partner's mum hates your cooking and she says she is just being helpful!
How to fix it: Address her directly, with this non-threatening 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."
The money fight.
You want to go all out for Christmas, or buy great but expensive gifts for everyone. Your partner says you can't afford it.
How to fix it: Create a budget in advance that takes into account all Christmas-related expenses. Decide how much you'll spend on each category and don't deviate.
The 'Why am I left doing everything?' fight.
Most likely started by the one who is after having done 97% of all the prep leading up to Christmas.
How to fix it: Often without planning it, partners tend to fall into routines, with each person doing certain tasks more than others. Solve this by delegating jobs to do before December starts, and agree who will do what.
The location fight.
Your partner wants to have Christmas dinner with his/her family, you want to spend it with yours.
How to fix it: Find a compromise—which means both of you have to give a little. Maybe everyone can come to you instead? Or you will have to work out a rota where you spend one Christmas with one side of the family, the next with the other.
The 'not tonight, darling' fight.
How to fix it: For many women, sex falls to the bottom of a long to-do list at Christmas. But try to remember that taking time to be close to each other is a great way to avoid fighting in many other areas too. Oh, and sex is a total stress reliever too.
And three more because, hey, it's Christmas and it's an incredibly stressful time!
The annoying habit fight.
The stress of Christmas can turn a lovable quirk into a trigger for full-blown war.
How to fix it: When tensions are high, we are all more likely to get annoyed by the small things that wouldn't normally bother us. Try breathing in and out and counting to ten. Kindness is key. Accept that tensions are high and try to focus on all the things you love about each other instead.
The badly behaved children fight.
Gifts, lots of sugar and bedtimes that are pushed back often causes tired, short-fused and hyper children at Christmas time. This, in turn, leads to another reason couples fight at Christmas time.
How to fix it: Remember that you are the parents and you are a team. Agree how things with the kids will be dealt with ahead of the festive season, and stick to the rules you agreed on. If you agreed in limiting sugar in the morning time or to let them have a little treat at night, stick to this.
The exhaustion fight.
Exhaustion is a big reason couples fight at Christmas. One or both of you is exhausted—and you take it out on each other.
How to fix it: When you feel yourself getting angry, ask yourself, "Am I really annoyed with them, or am I just stressed in general?" To help alleviate stress, experts recommend this breathing exercise: "Take five deep breaths, inhaling to the count of five and exhaling to the count of eight.". Exhaling actually releases Oxytocin in the brain, and God knows you are going to need it!