Six Christmas family arguments you'll definitely have

Mother and daughter having Christmas family argument in kitchen. (Getty Images)
There will likely be moments you need to take a deep breath this Christmas, just like every year. (Getty Images)

Christmas is coming – a time for gifts, festive food, spiritual joy and enormous screaming meltdowns.

Rare is the family that spends the festive season coddled in peaceful togetherness. Far more common are the ones that begin with merry intentions and goodwill to all, but are biting their tongue in frustration (or perhaps not so successfully) by Boxing Day lunchtime.

Previous research has even looked into the chief causes of festive arguments we see time and time again – the ones that are so well worn, they probably began with a Wise Man shouting: "Wait, no, I was going to bring the Myrrh!"

Half of Brits admit they argue with friends and family over the Christmas period, according to a survey by greetings card company It turns out spending time with in-laws is the number one cause of fights, with 'what to watch on Christmas day' in second place.

Here's what you'll almost certainly argue about during this year and in years to come – but do feel free to add your own.

Read more: Should you charge your guests for Christmas dinner? How to handle the festive dilemma

Happy senior couple and their adult children toasting with wine on Christmas at home. (Getty Images)
Don't be fooled by everyone else's 'happy' Christmas photos online. (Getty Images)

What Brits argue about the most at Christmas

1. Spending time with the in-laws (23%)

Almost a quarter of us are bitterly resentful about having to drive 'halfway across the country' (said every Dad ever) to visit our partner's parents and relations. They don't do Christmas properly, they open presents at the wrong time, and their gravy always tastes of dust, of course...

While the polite-mannered among us will put on a happy face, many of us would rather stay home, or visit our own family, than spend it with the in-laws.

2. What to watch on Christmas day (23%)

Equally stressful is agreeing on what to watch. It's as though the 'record' button has never been invented, with families warring over cartoons v the latest Netflix doc and The Queen's Speech, now the King's Speech v yet another rerun of Love Actually.

That's probably why so many teens end up sloping off to message their mates while the adults slump in front of the compromise-candidate Vicar of Dibley, wishing they'd just held out for whatever James Bond is showing.

Kids watching tv at home in the Christmas night. (Getty Images)
Who usually hogs the remote in your family? (Getty Images)

3. Watching TV on Christmas day (22%)

A stern fifth of Brits don't want the TV on at all on Christmas day. For the more strict among us, anyone caught sneaking a glance at the Call the Midwife Christmas special, or Wallace and Gromit, is 'wasting precious family time' that could be spent helping to load the dishwasher, or playing Scrabble.

This argument tends to happen more when festive customs clash, and one set of in-laws wants a rousing bout of Charades while the other would rather watch Gogglebox with a triple Baileys. We won't say whose side we'd be on...

4. Board games (20%)

Speaking of games, an entire fifth of the nation falls out over them. They're supposed to be fun, but confronted with a drunken uncle buying up Mayfair, or a cheating granny whispering what her Pictionary scrawl is meant to be, all hell may break loose.

Fairness is ingrained in the British character, and anyone who fails to play by the rules is bound to start an argument. Particularly when it's about what they actually are.

Many have spent Christmas evening shouting: "You can't send me back to the start, I already rolled a six!"

They're more a test of character than a fun activity, frankly.

Read more: When to buy a turkey so you don’t miss out this Christmas

A serious seven-year-old child boy playing games at home at a white wooden table against the background of a light window. (Getty Images)
No one's messing around when it comes to a game of Jenga. (Getty Images)

5. Christmas dinner or lunch (20%)

Another fifth of us fall out over Christmas meal timings. Are we eating at one in time for the royal speech, or at six to give us time to do the sprouts? And who's doing the cooking? We now also have to consider that a couple of guests might need to 'pop into the kitchen and heat up their vegan option', or expect one already.

There's an endless supply of potential rows here. Lack of help from teens. The turkey not defrosting because someone forgot to get it out in time. The shop-bought pudding. The relatives you've always hated.

Take a seat, pull a cracker, and buckle up.

Young unhappy couple ignoring each other after an argument during Christmas dinner. (Getty Images)
Suddenly looking forward to the new year? (Getty Images)

6. Being drunk on Christmas day (20%)

As Slade yelled, It's Christmassssssss! And if you can't sink a pint or two, along with a bottle of Cava, two snowballs and a cherry brandy, when can you? Some, however, are not so keen on family members falling into a booze coma before the turkey's basted.

Equally, loud inappropriate jokes, snoring through the present opening, and failing to help because you're incapacitated are also not welcomed.

Other festive fights include when to open presents (18%), decorating the Christmas tree (18%), who's in charge of cleaning on Christmas day (18%) and what time to wake up on Christmas morning (17%)

Read more: How to beat a festive hangover

When asked about how much couples, friends and families argue over the Christmas period, more than one in six (16%) said they do 'often', whilst over two thirds admitted they argue with their close ones 'sometimes'.

The most regular bickerers are people over 65 – though let's face it they've had years of putting up with the family's festive nonsense.

The main thing, of course, is not to let your argument ruin Christmas. Refrain from discussing politics, religion or somebody else's parenting style – and don't forget, in most families, there's very little a hug and a mince pie can't sort out.

Watch: People who plan to travel over Christmas should think carefully, home secretary says