If Hollywood holiday blockbusters, like “Home Alone,” “Elf” or “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” are anything to go by, the festive season of family feuds is upon us! On a serious note, many people consider the holidays a difficult time of year to come together in high spirits with relatives from near and far as there’s almost always an argument that ensues. This time of year, the internet is filled with tips and tricks on how to avoid or resolve family conflicts during a time that’s meant to be overflowing with joyous spirits and holiday festivities. But, when alcohol is involved, things can get even more boisterous around the dinner table.

American Addiction Centers, a leading provider of addiction treatment and resources, conducted a survey (3,405) to find out how families deal with alcohol-fueled feuds over the holiday season. It was uncovered that 1 in 5 (20%) Maryland family gatherings involve drunken arguments over the holiday season – though of small comfort, this was below the national average of 21%. In fact, of all the joy-depleting family feuds there have been in the family over the years, the average Marylander said 38% of them involved the presence of alcohol

It seems that families in Delaware were most affected by these alcohol-fueled family feuds, with 1 in 3 stating these types of arguments generally take place in their household over the festive period. Comparatively, households in Hawaii tend to keep the peace with just 5% of people who said they experience family gatherings featuring drunken arguments over the season. Talk about harmonious holidays! 

Of course, bringing together close and distant relatives of different ages and varying mindsets has the potential to end up badly, especially when alcohol is involved. In fact, an overwhelming number of people (81%) said they have at least one extended family member who annoys them. And when it comes to drinking, over half (57%) of respondents said they also have at least one extended family member who becomes confrontational or argumentative when they have alcohol at get-togethers.

The occurrence of drunken arguments affects some so drastically that 68% said they would consider an alcohol-free family Christmas in order to avoid these festive-dampening feuds. 

Some say politics is among the top topics you should definitely avoid discussing over the dinner table –  and for good reason: one-third of respondents said politics is typically the main reason for family arguments over the Christmas period. Longstanding family tensions (29%) and money (17%) were also significant contributing factors to family bickering. Additionally, 17% stated that taking games too seriously, the root cause of arguments over the holidays. There’s no rivalry like a sibling rivalry, so it seems: 5% of people said this is the main cause of their holiday arguments, and lastly, 3% of people said their family tends to argue over the cooking!


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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