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Christmas Time, Mistletoe and 'Whine' - Communication Tips for the Holiday Season.

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

There is nothing like the holiday season to add some pressure to our communication skills.

Volumes of people added to people we don't frequently spend a lot of time with and communication suddenly becomes more important than ever!

I asked the Team Phoenix on Facebook what conversations they found most challenging in the holiday periods and they were quick to come back to me with a few scenarios!

So here are the scenarios they gave me, and my hints, tips advice!

Tis the season to be jolly ... I hope this helps.

Small Talk

How do you make small talk with the relations that you haven't seen all year or the ones that you find a challenge to find something in common with?

Start by showing an interest in them, and ask open questions about generic subjects so that they can get the conversation going.

Stay away from contentious subjects, especially politics!

Listen to what they are telling you and use what they say as ways to interact and keep the conversation going.

If it helps do a little research beforehand. Find out a little about what people have been up to so that you can use that to ask questions or make conversation.

Handling The Negotiations

Where are we/you spending Christmas? This conversation that even the most skilled negotiators find a challenge!

This blog probably comes a little too late but there will still be some negotiations to be had.

Before coming into the conversation:

  • Show that you have understood what they want

  • Say how you feel

  • Say what you want to happen

  • Make a recommendation for a joint solution

If you are entering into these negotiations as a couple then make sure you are both clear what you want to happen and what you are willing to negotiate on!

The above assertiveness ingredients can be really useful to help you negotiate what you want to happen over the holiday period and can be used in most conversations.

Saying ‘No’ to the Feeder

Food is social, especially at this time of year but for many people, it can be a real challenge. We commit to what we want to do but we don't always have the 'buy-in' from others around us.

Whilst I don't advocate excluding foods or not enjoying the season it also doesn't mean that it is a green card to go crazy and eat everything in sight. Most foods are available to us all year round so saying no is not permanent never eat again no!

During the holidays we associate the offer of food as the offer of love and kindness because of the environment that we are in.

Saying no to food is not saying no to the kindness and love behind it.

You can acknowledge the kindness and say no.

"That is very kind of you, I am full thank you".

The same with alcohol being offered, "no thank you, do you have a soft drink"?

You don’t have to give a reason or validate your “no thank you” response. “No thank you” is a complete sentence.

If you need to you can use the assertiveness ingredients to help manage these conversations then this is another occasion they can come in very useful.

Lost in Translation

Are you speaking the same love language as the rest of your family? If you have different love languages is the meaning of your conversation getting lost in translation?

There are 5 love languages:

Physical Touch

Quality Time

Acts of Service

Receiving gifts

Words of Affirmation

if you have not heard of love languages before, then in brief (and there is a book) this is how we speak and understand how love is shown. We have a primary and secondary language, and understanding what these are can improve our connections with others and our relationships.

How does this apply to Christmas?

Watch the people around you over the holiday period - How are they showing their love to others? Do they give gifts or want to spend quality time, Are the gifts they give activities to spend time together or are they gifts of monetary value? Do they show their love with acts of service, wanting to do things for you or do they show their love with words?

Once you know the love language of the closest people around you it firstly makes gift buying a lot easier (you will know next year!) it will also help with understanding what is important to people and what their good intentions are when having conversations.

So ... on that note. I would like to wish you all a very calm and well-communicated Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays if you don't celebrate. I hope that you all have a wonderful few weeks.

I will be listening to my own advice and taking some time out and I will be back in the New Year all ready to go!

I look forward to you joining me as we take 2019 by the horns and take more steps to become the person we want to be!

See you in the New Year!

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