The impact of the festive season on relationships

Mandeep Clair

Article written by Mandeep Clair, Solicitor, Family department

It’s a sad fact that the festive period can often bring relationship breakdowns to a head and with a new year having started, where a fresh start is actively sought and encouraged, many couples consider divorce or separation as a solution. In this article, we look at the impact of the festive season on many couples across the UK.

1) Spending more time together

During the festive season, people tend to spend more time together and the usual distractions such as work, maintaining a home, hobbies, and social activities and even parenting can be seen more of a distraction from what is really going on. For many people, Christmas involves spending an unusual amount of ‘intrusive’ time together which, in turn, could bring issues to the surface.

2) Financial pressures

When you factor in the cost of gifts and festive food, drinks and activities, Christmas can be expensive. Financial pressures are a significant factor in divorce rates and this can become intolerable for some during the festive season.

3) Personal pressures

There has always been increased pressure during the festive season to make those days perfect and extra special, particularly for children. This has increased over the past few years and the essence of social media has exacerbated this. Some families are feeling the urge to provide Instagram-worthy family photographs in the home. If underlying discontent exists within a marriage, this pressure could significantly add to that tension.

4) The weather

It’s a known fact that the weather can be grim in December, January, and February with more darkness in the mornings and nights drawing in earlier. The colder weather and the impact this has on everyday health can also have a detrimental influence on couples. This together with the above-mentioned issues can play a significant factor in people deciding to separate and divorce. December tends to mark the end of a natural cycle, and a new year brings an urge to make a fresh start.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 3 million lone parent families in 2021, which accounts for 15.4% of families in the UK. Many begin the mental process of ending a relationship before the festive season with the turn of a calendar acting as a trigger point for many. If you decide to end your marriage, we would advise you to have a plan in place. If children are involved, create a parenting plan that is agreed by both parties to cover contact arrangements, holidays and keeping one another informed about activities and illnesses.

If you would like to discuss divorce and separation or for advice on a particular family matter, please feel free to email me or contact us on 020 8858 6971.