Menu Close

Is This a Formula For Christmas Success?


Expectations were high in December last year! The whole family, 13.5 of us would be together for the first time in two years. We live in four different countries so time all together is very special and our London Christmas was going to be perfect. Only it wasn’t. On 25th December, two were in Berlin, 2.5 were in Belfast and the rest of us were in London.

My son’s illness and emergency operation the week before Christmas meant he couldn’t leave home and fly to the UK, his pregnant wife and toddler who were incredibly anxious went to be with her parents in Ireland so he could recover without a toddler climbing all over him and risking complications, my husband went to Berlin to look after his son and the rest of us did Christmas as planned.

No matter what hopes and dreams we have for the festive season the reality is likely to fall short of the wonderful plans we make and we’ll all deal with any disappointment, differently.

If you follow our blogs regularly or have been on one of our retreats, you’ll know how important an understanding of the 4 Elemental personality types is. As a reminder,

FIRE’s are motivated by RESULTS and CONTROL and thrive on CHALLENGE and CONFRONTATION so will happiest organising activities and instigating conversations that may well provoke a reaction in others. They rarely believe they’re wrong and it’s always wise to give them options rather than telling them what to do.

EARTH’s are motivated by DETAIL and ROUTINE and thrive on ORDER and STRUCTURE so are the personality type likely to become stressed when things don’t go according to plan and timings are out. They dislike change and so they can find it hard being in other people’s home or away from their usual routine.

WATER’s are motivated by STABILITY and COMPASSION and thrive on HARMONY and CALM so will do all they can to ensure a peaceful Christmas for everyone. They can put their own feelings to one side in an attempt to keep everyone else happy, hiding their own internal tension.

WIND’s are motivated by VARIETY and ATTENTION and thrive on FLEXIBILITY and CHANGE and will be the life and soul of the party. They’ll want everyone to have fun and encourage involvement whether their family and friends want to join in or nor.

It’s likely that most meetings of family and friends will have a real mix of these personality types and the potential for conflict could be averted by appreciating the different needs and motivations of those you’ll be spending Christmas with.

Yet, no matter whether you’re introvert or extrovert, organised or flexible, emotional or controlled, there’s one thing that all of us can determine to do this holiday season.

Jack Canfield, of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ fame, created the E+R=O formula and it could be the key to Christmas success or otherwise –


It’s so easy to REACT when family and friends irritate and disappoint us, when plans get changed and there’s unexpected stress but appreciating that we often have little control over so many of life’s EVENTS and practising RESPONDING positively will generally make a whole heap of difference to the OUTCOME.

This Christmas I’m determined to Respond to Events and appreciate the control I have on the Outcomes.



Ruth Adams

Ruth has worked as a trainer and a communications coach for 20 years and love to inspire people - from a boardroom to a classroom - to find freedom and unlock possibilities. She is an associate of Family Futures, an area co-ordinator for Adoption UK and a director of Achkiy, a women working with women in shantytowns in Peru. Ruth is married to Alan, has 3 birth children in New York, Berlin and Barcelona, 2 forever daughters and 6 grandchildren.

Newsletter Sign Up

We are currently taking a break from our retreats but hope to be back with you in 2022. In the meantime, if you would like to be updated with our news and continued blog posts please add your details here.