Here's Why Your Family Fights So Much During The Holidays

Instagram / Laura Callaghan

Science can explain your family feuding.

Sometimes it seems like family feuds and holiday get-togethers go hand in hand. Family members are quick to become cranky and snap at each other for any and every little grievance.

Want to know just why it is that your family can't stop fighting when you're gathered together for holidays and events?

It turns out that science has a word for it: hypercopresence.


Hypercopresence is a phenomenon that occurs when families who have spent all year apart are suddenly forced to live in close quarters.

During holidays and special occasions, many family members have to share the same house/ bedroom/ bathroom and deal with other abnormal stresses such as small children running around.

They are in each other's hair for an extended amount of time with barely any breathing room.


Family members tend to become crabby and irritable because they have nowhere to escape to. They feel cramped and like they can't get away from their other family members.

No matter where they go or what they do, they are always with other people.

From strict holiday itinerary and eating every meal together to game nights and sleeping arrangements, family members begin to feel controlled and like a caged animal.

via Universal Studios


Families can avoid fighting during the holidays in several different ways:

  • Balance family time with alone time so you don't feel too claustrophobic
  • Don't force family members to participate in every activity if they don't want to
  • Delegate responsibilities so there aren't multiple people trying to do the same task at once
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol if family members are prone to bickering
  • Remind yourself that this is temporary, and you will all go back to your regular lives shortly