If you’re getting ready for a visit from your extended family this holiday season and dreading it a little more than you should, don’t feel like you’re alone. Plenty of families out there butt heads during the holiday season, and the stress, weather, and different personalities can combine to make anyone want to pull their hair out. However, it doesn’t need be this way. There are several ways you can make this family visit the best you’ve ever had and make sure everyone enjoys their Christmas.
Plan Some Games
One way to get the family together and laughing is to plan a game night during your festivities. Pull out that old monopoly board, grab a box of Pictionary, and if you’re daring and have a more adult crowd to deal with, look into the scandalous Cards Against Humanity. Don’t think that setting the games out will be enough to make people come together and play. Have the boards set up, and offer little prizes for any who win the matches. It’s a bona fide way to create some camaraderie this Christmas and you’ll love the peals of laughter resounding throughout the house.
Give the Kids Their Own Zone
We can’t expect the kids to be able to sit at the table with the adults for hours on end without them getting a bit antsy. Don’t force the little ones to partake in adult conversation—it won’t be fun for anyone involved. Just like you should have crafts prepared for thanksgiving, do the same for the Christmas holiday. Make a table for the kids specifically, and have an older teen be sure to supervise. If you have a playroom, have the toys out and ready.
Don’t Give in to Alcohol
Although another glass of wine might seem like the thing to get you through these family visits, don’t reach for the bottle. Stress, emotional situations, and alcohol make for a terrible combination. Either steer clear of the booze or only have a drink or two throughout the evening. You won’t have to nurse a terrible hangover in the morning, and you won’t have to worry about saying or doing anything you might regret.
Rules for the Smoker
If your family is visiting and you’re a smoker, make sure you don’t blow secondhand smoke around. Try out a smokeless e-cig from NJOY.com that will give you the nicotine you crave without bothering anyone else. Since these don’t produce smoke, you won’t have to go outside in the cold air just to partake—you can use it right in the comfort of your own bedroom.
Take a Break
If you just can’t handle another moment with your high-maintenance in-laws or drunk Uncle Ned, don’t feel bad about taking a break. Talk to your spouse beforehand to let them know your escape plan so they don’t worry. Go to bed a half an hour early and take a bath, or take a nature walk during the day to get some fresh air and a clear head. Sometimes all you need for a quick refresh is to lay back on the bed, plug in some earphones and let yourself listen to two of your favorite songs. Once they’re done, hopefully you’ll feel a bit more positive and ready to head back out to the family.
Get Presents Done Beforehand
We’re still a month out, meaning you have plenty of time to get a head start on holiday shopping and planning. Start out by making your budget and discuss with your spouse to make sure you’re both on the same page. Include any travel expenses, gift budgeting, and food preparation. Once you’ve got all these nailed down, create lists. Lists are your friends, everyone. It will take away the chaos of making sure you’ve done everything you’ve needed to, and make it easier for you to create a doable timeline. Try online shopping for your presents, and shop from companies who offer gift wrapping. It will save you a ton of time, and once they arrive on your doorstep they will be ready to throw under the tree.
Cooking Ahead Will Save You Headaches
The same concept goes for cooking. If you’re hosting your family and planning a large feast, make sure you get any and all of your baking and pre-made items done in the weeks before. Pop them in the freezer and pull them out the day of for a no-stress meal that your guests will love. Another bonus: if any kitchen disasters happen during the prep, you’ll have time another day to make another attempt.
Whether you are hosting the holidays at your house or visiting others at theirs, things don’t have to be stressful. Tips like these can help you have a successful holiday visit full of nothing but wonderful memories with family members and friends.