by Pia Frohwein, Cord's Senior Advisor on Peacebuilding and Conflict Sensitivity 
Would you like to know more about avoiding conflict at family get togethers, such as Christmas? Pia Frohwein, has taken her extensive experience of working in the field with Cord's projects to put together these insightful 5 tips.

1. Manage expectations
 Christmas family get togethers can be overloaded with expectations. Be aware of your own expectations and try to drop as many as possible. Because others are not responsible for our own happiness and we should not make ourselves dependent on others’ behaviour. It can help to take a step back or to laugh at ourselves. Expressing our needs can help to clear a situation, a misunderstanding. 

2. Plan ahead but keep the schedule half empty We tend to overload family holidays and breaks with plans and readymade schedules, because we want our families to be nice and for everyone to feel at ease. This can create expectations and often stress. It’s helpful to keep things flexible and to involve others in decision making. This helps to ensure that the decisions are owned by all the present people. And when people own the decisions they are much more willing to contribute to their implementation.

3. Gifts can be small and still precious What do we want to express with gifts? For many it’s about love and affection rather than about financial value. In most of the regions where Cord is working, many people are struggling to survive. So they are becoming creative out of necessity. Parents for example are giving away symbolic self-made gifts to their children to show their feelings. Or people invite for a joint cooking session or offer a specific skill. There are many ways to express the value of relationships.

 4. Invite others -  Cord often sees the strength and weaknesses in communities. The family is an ideal and a source of strength and inspiration for many among us. At the same time there are many without family or who have chosen a different concept of cohabitation. Chrsitmas can be the opportunity to show our own openness and readiness for inclusiveness and diversity.

 5. Balance between activity and rest Activeness keeps us vivid, alert and creative but too much activity makes us feel stressed out. Rest helps us to balance, focus and recover but too much can make us feel dull and withdrawn. We all need a healthy balance. 

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This is Mr Yon's story of how his family are able to live in Peace now, thanks to the hard work he put in to attending Peacbuilding workshops in Asia in association with Cord and our partners. Read Changed Lives stories