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Peace on earth, goodwill toward men … but family?!

Capture the memories of Christmas with family photography from Venture Studios...

As we keep hearing, Christmas is time for the family. Magazine covers feature perfect smiling families in pristine, amazingly decorated homes, delicately eating what looks like Michelin 3+ star food. All this only serves to make the rest of us mere mortals feel completely inadequate on every level!

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The problem is that no matter how much effort we put into cleaning and decorating our homes for Christmas, or preparing wonderful food for weeks in advance, there is still one major aspect of Christmas that is beyond our control: our family!

Christmas can be a stressful time for many people, and if there are already tensions in the family there can be a worry that getting together at Christmas could make things even worse. Having to endure someone’s constant boasting about work, feel irked by yet another expensive new gadget that someone else has bought, put up with the kids from hell or feel resentful at the complete lack of interest or engagement from yet another family member - it can all feel just too much!

Yet Christmas is also a tremendous opportunity to build bridges within the family, put those tensions behind us, and enjoy being together. Like it or not, there is just something unifying about Christmas. Watch any of the well-loved Christmas movies and there is always an underlying theme of togetherness. No matter how unconventional or imperfect your family, they are your family after all and perhaps it’s time to make the best of what you’ve got rather than hankering after what you don’t have?

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Perhaps the main aim for all of us this Christmas should not be the idealised cheesy perfection that those magazine covers convey, but some real honest interaction with our own flesh and blood. Perhaps it’s time to accept that no-one is perfect, but as long as we can all be “good enough” - and not annoy each other too much! - then we could all have an amazing Christmas that will become part of our family’s shared history that we will remember for years to come.

Why not try some of these ideas for a Christmas that is full of goodwill toward every family member?

  • Share the load. If several family members are joining together for a Christmas gathering at one of the houses, then everyone should have a part to play. Whether it’s bringing food, helping to prepare the meal, organising the clearing up, entertaining the children, or being responsible for keeping the drinks topped up, it should be a family affair. Also make sure people do not interfere in someone else’s job: if Auntie Mary is peeling the sprouts then let her do it, even if you think you could do it far quicker.
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  • Agree the rules for gifts in advance - and stick to them! Set a maximum value for childrens’ presents so that no-one is either embarrassed or disappointed. Same for adults’ presents if they are still being given, although many families now prefer to organise a Secret Santa - one big present often being nicer than lots of little ones! But agree the rules in advance, as inequalities - real or perceived - in gifting can lead to all kinds of bad feeling.
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  • Everyone has “personal time”. We all need a break, whether it’s a morning lie-in, a nice long soak in the bath, or being left alone to read a book. Ensure that every family member gets a bit of personal time each day so that they can enjoy Christmas in their own way without feeling pressured by everyone else all the time.
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  • Fresh air and exercise. Squabbles are more likely to break out if everyone is cooped up inside together. Make it a house rule that there is at least one brisk walk for everyone every day.
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  • Keep a journal. If things are getting too much then rather than losing the plot and taking it out on someone else, write it all down in a notebook that is just for your own eyes. At a later date you will find it fascinating to re-read what was winding you up so much. It may be that there are genuine issues there that you need to deal with, and can do so calmly in the cold light of day. Or it may be that on re-reading them later you decide that they are not that important after all, or even that you could perhaps have done something differently yourself.

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We do hope you enjoy Christmas not despite your family but because of them! If everyone pulls together to make it work then it will. When it does, you may also want to consider celebrating this new season of goodwill toward each other by having some family photography done in the New Year. It is something that many of us plan to do then never get round to it, then before we know it various changes happen in the family and the moment is lost.

So why not make it your New Year resolution to book a family photography session with Venture Studios. Not only will you all have a fun and enjoyable time together during the photoshoot, but the result will be some stunning photographs that tell your family’s story and will creating lasting memories for your family to treasure forever.

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You can purchase vouchers for our family photography experiences directly through our website; or if there is any other information that you need then do not hesitate to contact us at Venture Studios. Vouchers purchased between now until 31st December have an extended validity period until the 28th February 2018.

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