Christmas conversations: how to make the most of your family time this Christmas

16 December 2014

How to discuss financial matters with your older relatives at Christmas.



New research shows that the average person will travel around 50 miles to be with family this year.

As families live further apart than ever, Christmas is for many the longest time they spend together. 

So after travelling such a long way, it seems a shame that a vast amount of the quality time is dedicated to what’s going on in the lives of fictional strangers on Albert Square and Coronation Street.

The festive season can in fact be the ideal time use some real face time to sit down with parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents and uncover old memories with newer additions to the family.

And because it’s also a time when extended families are all together, it can also be a good chance to discuss more serious issues that we often don’t have the time to dedicate to, forget to mention or find it hard to bring up on the end of a telephone.

The research from Saga shows that one in five find it difficult to talk to their kids about what would happen if they needed care and that almost a quarter find it hard to talk to their children about future wishes such as funeral arrangements.

One in six say discussions about their will are not easy and one in eight say inheritance is a difficult subject to chat about, with a similar number saying money in general is a hard topic to approach in conversation.

While no one wants to think about the time they need care, or about what happens after they are gone to money, property and that vase handed down by great aunt Maud, the relaxed atmosphere of the Christmas season of goodwill might just be the right moment with family around to broach those topics.

Because if you don't do it face to face you might never get round to it and leave people with a headache worse than any Christmas hangover.

So if you’re keen to make this Christmas more meaningful by sharing precious memories, stories and even using the time to talk about serious issues, then what’s the best way to change the conversation?

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.