Cost of living ‘likely to be main cause of Christmas arguments’

Cost of living ‘likely to be main cause of Christmas arguments’

More than half of people in the UK expect family arguments this Christmas, with the majority blaming the cost-of living-crisis, a survey suggests.

A poll of 2,033 adults questioned on behalf of relationships charity Relate found that 53% are anticipating family arguments over the festive season, with 73% saying it will be down to the cost of living.

Turning the heating on is expected to be the top source of conflict (20%), followed by how much to spend on gifts (18%) and the cost of electricity used for Christmas lights (15%), the survey found.

More than a third (34%) of those surveyed said they expect the cost-of-living crisis to have a negative impact on their relationships with loved ones this winter.

This rose to almost half (47%) for those in the age groups 16-24 and 25-39.

The cost of presents is also a concern, with 36% of those polled saying they feel pressure to buy gifts they cannot really afford for loved ones.

Relate counsellor Holly Roberts said: “Money is often a concern around Christmas time, but this year it’s on our minds even more due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“When we’re worried about whether we’ll be able to pay the bills in January, we might get triggered and react angrily to somebody turning the heating on.

“For the person on the receiving end of this anger, their first response may be to act defensively and, before you know it, there’s a full-blown argument.

“If somebody wants to turn the heating on or off and you don’t agree, try to understand what fear or unmet need is behind this.

“Acknowledge that you can see this is important to them and use ‘I’ statements to express how you’re feeling without placing blame on the other person.

“Hopefully, from a place of greater understanding, you can reach some kind of compromise.”

Relate is launching an online service called The Christmas Sanctuary which features self-help articles, escapism and relaxation tools to support people during what they believe is likely to be a challenging time for many.

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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