Bringing mindfulness to our interactions can help us to navigate our way through this period and cultivate positive connections.

With this in mind, here are four top tips to support a mindful Christmas.

1. Listen with Intent

We can bring mindful presence to our conversations by staying open and curious. We can listen with patience and acceptance.

Connecting with others is important to our happiness and wellbeing -- when we are disconnected, we can feel stressed and revert back to reactive patterns of communication.

We don't necessarily have to agree with what a relative or friend is saying, but we can still be open to different points of view and listen with the intent to understand, not to judge.

We can consider these moments an opportunity to practice equanimity and compassion.

In this way, the person communicating has the experience of feeling respected and valued.

2. See the Good In Others

Dealing with difficult relatives can be one of the greatest challenges over Christmas.

This year, see if you can transform a testing interaction with a relative by looking for the good in their character. 

It’s always possible to find qualities that you appreciate in someone, such as kindness, generosity, humour or even just positive intentions.

When we make the choice to stay consciously look for these traits, we may find our interactions are transformed.

3. Make Space for Emotion

We can use mindfulness to make space for all of our emotions by observing whatever arises, and knowing that we don’t have to act or react to it.

The festive season can bring with it a full spectrum of emotion -- from warmth and celebration, to bitterness and frustration caused by quarrels.

It can also bring moments of sadness and loneliness triggered by memories of lost loved ones.

Instead, we can simply let it pass through our awareness with acceptance and non-judgement.

4. Abandon Expectations

Around this time of the year, we can find ourselves bombarded with images of Christmas ideals of unity, harmony and joy, but the reality can be different and far more complex.

This is especially true when it comes to close relationships.

We can lay the ground for a more enjoyable experience at Christmas by choosing to not have expectations.

Instead, we can stay mindfully present with our social interactions as they unfold moment-by-moment.