When the London Paper wanted to find out how to bring the warmth into a Christmas where you are entertaining your partner’s parents, they interviewed a panel of experts. Relationship consultant, Dr Lisa Matthewman and Nick Ede of GMTV teamed up with our Angela to put together a few handy tips for surviving Christmas with the out-laws!
Here is the article, reprinted with kind permission of the London Paper:
Keeping it happy, family!
by Andy Jones. Tuesday, 19 December 2006
While we all hanker after the chocolate-box image of a happy family sat round a Christmas tree, the reality is that when it comes to spending the festive season with your partner’s parents, you’ll need the social prowess of a diplomat. No wonder one in five of us gets severely stressed out during Christmas; being able to navigate through a minefield of family stories, grudges and parental expectations can be quite a daunting experience.
First impressions are vital, so if your partner’s parents are coming to visit you, there is a lot you can do to create the right ambience. Hopefully, even if they are cranky after getting stuck in traffic, you will be able to counter-balance any negative vibes by ensuring your home is flowing with positive energy. Angela Ang, a top London feng shui expert, says it is important to channel that festive cheer into the right places if you’re going to make the day a success:
“Entrances are an important area because it is where chi comes in, so you want it to be greeted with positive and beautiful things. Cut flowers and lively plants in the doorway always set the tone for what your home is about,” says Ang, of Rising Dragon Feng Shui.
Remember, when it comes to your partner’s parents, there’s no such thing as too much effort. You may have ordered the most plush Christmas tree, even decorated it with baubles handmade by Belgian nuns, but Ang insists you can still do more for less. She says that bringing light into a home and wearing new clothes are cheap, yet effective ways of creating positive energy.
Trying to be a dutiful host on a budget can be stressful, but lifestyle expert Nick Ede, who guest presents on GMTV, says the taste of Christmas can be bought cheaply. The key is to offer lots of mulled wine, which can be made using blackcurrant cordial, gin, red wine and spices. Drinks are a good start but it’s the little touches that really impress prospective in-laws. Ede advises sending out invitations and then thank you emails afterwards.
It goes without saying that you don’t want to contract foot-in-mouth disease if you’re doing the visiting. To be prepared, Dr Lisa Matthewman, a leading relationship consultant, suggests asking your partner for a little assistance: “What would their parents want to talk about? What topics should and shouldn’t you raise?”
Matthewman also advises a trip to the bathroom to compose yourself if you lose your cool. And in any case, if your relationship is in tatters come Boxing Day, at least the new year is the perfect time for a fresh start.