Student Relish

The 3 Stages of Family Christmas

surviving christmas thumb

The Christmas break has three distinct stages.

Stage 1: The Excitement Phase


Stage 3: The Going-Back-To-Uni-Somewhat-Happily Phase


Stage 1 is easy to get through. It begins sometime in late-November or early-December (or randomly in October, for some people), and lasts right up till day 3 of being at home. Everybody experiences this differently, but it generally include listening to cheesy Christmas music, watching lame (yet adorable) Christmas movies, drinking fancy hot chocolates at coffee shops and Christmas shopping. Some people absolutely loathe this phase, which just sucks really because then they end up being bitter when they go into Stage 2.


Stage 2 is fairly self-explanatory. Parents start nagging you to do dishes, clean, contribute to the household activities, or to be nice to your siblings who really are just a pain. The family demands your undivided attention at dinner after dinner and it’s exhausting. Plus, all your friends are doing the same, which means that nobody is around to help you escape. So how do you survive?

Lye in late – this gives you those precious morning hours to relax and stay alone in your room, ignoring the outside world and the family disasters that the day will bring.

Drink. In moderation. A drink can be great to take the edge off and give you a little Dutch courage to get through the day. But don’t over-do it. We don’t encourage binge-drinking and alcoholism, but a beer at lunch isn’t a big deal, and having a couple drinks is a good way to take the edge off and make the family gatherings a little more bearable. Watch that wine glass though, because alcohol is disinhibiting and can make you say things you may regret.

Live in the present. Regardless of old family drama, or bad history between people, try to brush it off for the time being and focus on being positive and giving people second (or third, or fourth) chances, even if those chances expire at the end of your trip. There’s no need to stir the pot around Christmas.

Go out – not necessarily in the sense of going out to drink, like to a pub or a club, but getting out of the house is an easy way to get some space and clear your head. Go for a run, go to the gym, grab a coffee, whatever it is that will get you away from the family for a few hours and help you to cope.

Other ideas:

The Guardian’s “How to Survive Family Christmas”

WOW247’s “10 tips for surviving Christmas Day with your Family”


Stage 3 is bitter sweet. On the one hand, you’re happy to get your freedom back when you get back to school. On the other, going back to school means attending lectures, pretending to do readings, and stressing over work. But at least you’re over Stage 2, and at the end of the day, that’s what counts.


From everybody at Eastbourne Student, good luck this Christmas. We’ll see you on the other side.

Categories: Student Relish