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Holiday Arguments? You’re Not Alone

Arguments and holidays often come hand and hand.

Photo Courtesy of Bill Watterson

Arguments and holidays often come hand and hand.

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Colder weather often comes with cozy sweaters, warm drinks, finals stress, and miserable colds, but one of the biggest things colder weather brings is the holidays. The holidays have so much excitement built up for them with delicious food, thoughtful gifts, and visiting family, but all of these great things can quickly become stressful as there is a need for perfection.  Holidays, while they have always been stressful, become even more stressful when arguments start.

“My family is completely stressed out during the holidays,” sophomore, Kelly Ahern said. “And that leads to a lot of discord between my family members.”

Holiday stress can start arguments that wouldn’t happen normally.

“My mom and I argue over mostly small things,” Ahern said. “But then it escalates into a big yelling match that doesn’t end well. It happens quite frequently during the holidays.”

While arguing over small things has always been common, arguments during holidays have started shifting to arguments over a more personal topic: politics. Ever since the polarizing election in 2016, the holidays season, which starts at Thanksgiving and ends after New Year’s, has even more disagreements between family members.

“Last Thanksgiving, my whole family was getting together at my uncle’s house,” sophomore, Lauren Marquardt said. “It was right after President Trump was elected. The whole thing was a mess, and things ended early that year.”

Similar to arguments over small things, political clashes can escalate in a way that breaks up the holidays.

“It started with my democratic cousin and uncle getting mad at my other uncle who voted for Trump,” Marquardt said. “They got into a verbal fight, and by the end, everyone was fighting. My mom was yelling at my cousin, my cousin was yelling at my uncle, my uncle was yelling at my other uncle, my aunts were fighting, and my other aunt was yelling at my mom.”

Arguments can grow so large that they lead to distance between family members, but Kelly Ahern and Lauren Marquardt offer some advice to prevent arguments during holidays.

“You have to put up with your family members,” Ahern said. “Don’t engage with them if it’ll make it worse. Just ignore them and try to avoid conflict.”

Both Ahern and Marquardt offered advice about remembering what’s important.

“There are things that are more important than politics,” Marquardt said. “They are still your family at the end of the day whether you like it or not.

Ahern also says it’s important to reconcile but suggests giving it some time before returning to the conversation.

“When I do get in arguments, it helps to sit down after a bit with the offending person or persons and try to apologize or find a solution,” Ahern said. “Honestly my mom and I figure it out a lot of the time, but a cooling off period definitely helps, especially when there’s other people who would be uncomfortable with arguments. Space is really key.”

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