‘Avoid politics for Christmas peace’ experts argue

Ban political discussions at Christmas and go easy on the alcohol - two tips from Swedish experts for a peaceful and cordial family festive season after a stormy political autumn.

'Avoid politics for Christmas peace' experts argue
Swedish Christmas smorgasbord. Photo: TT
Christmas peace can quickly turn into Christmas crisis when the various political opinions of family members are aired after a couple of glasses of seasonal snaps. But despite the inevitable family tensions it is possible to prevent the red mist descending.
This autumn has been a particularly turbulent one in Swedish politics, what with the government losing its budget motion in parliament, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven calling an extra election and the Sweden Democrats threatening to vote against every government that doesn't dance to its tune on immigration. 
"I absolutely believe that it is particularly sensitive now with the political situation and that it can heat up many a gathering," said psychologist and relationship expert Christina Hermanrud, 
According to Hermanrud, families have everything to gain by dropping politics at the Christmas dinner table, especially if you know you think differently.
One tip is to talk to the family before and talk about which subjects are banned on Christmas Eve.
"As host or hostess you could say 'your disagreements about politics should stay out of the house, in here we let goodwill prevail'."
And if any of your relatives begin airing opinions that can cause trouble – put a stop to it quickly.
"If there is someone with a need to provoke – such as outing xenophobic opinions, then you can suggest a return to the subject after Christmas, not here and not now. There is nothing to be gained by taking the fight on Christmas, especially for the children's sake."
Aside from keeping politics on the outside of the mistletoe, Hermanrud offered another piece of advice for keeping the peace at Christmas.
"Drink in moderation. Get your act together over Christmas – for the sake of peace and the family."

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