Close quarters, not enough turkey, not nearly enough alcohol — we all know that holidays can turn horrible in a relatively short amount of time. For example, Grandma may sneak a little more eggnog than she should, or the kids will accidentally knock over the Christmas tree in a game of impromptu tag, nearly crushing the family dog.
Below, we’ve come up with some handy tips to help you survive the day, and help prevent it from spiraling out of control.
1.) Provide numerous distractions. Make sure you’re stocked up on entertainment for all ages. Make sure there’s a “kids’ area” complete with a TV, video games, books, movies and other toys. For adults, they’re generally happy with whatever’s on TV — but it never hurts to have it tuned to the sports game, as well as a few good holiday flicks you can pop in at a moment’s notice. Board games are also a great way to keep people focused on something fun and competitive.
2.) Make sure there’s plenty of food. Most people like to return for seconds, and eating can also be considered a distraction. It’s always nice to have a little downtime between Christmas meal and dessert, so spread it out a bit. Coffee and a board game (or some TV) after dinner is always nice. Also, making sure you have enough food to go around is always a good idea, just in case an extra person (or three) happens to drop by as one of your guests’ guests.
3.) Make sure there are plenty of drinks. And by this, we mean a wide assortment for everyone: water, juice, soft drinks and wine for dinner. For the kids, you can treat them to a sparkling cider to make them feel special. Also, don’t forget the alcohol. A decent selection of wine and beer can be a sanity saver.
4.) Give people jobs to do. It may sound rude at first, especially if you’re the host. But since when does that mean that it’s your sole duty to slave away endlessly while everyone else enjoys his or her holiday? To be honest, most people don’t mind helping out. It’s a nice way to feel close, and being able to chat while you get things done always makes the time fly.
5.) When it comes to dinner, separate tables for kids and adults are must. This is just better for everyone: your 10-year-old won’t sneak a sip out of your wine glass while you’re not looking, and you won’t be embarrassed when your 7-year-old spills his food down his shirt in front of all the company. Plus, kids generally enjoy being at their own table: you can dress their dining area with a tablecloth they can color on, keeping them occupied and less likely to torment their other relatives.
6.) Enjoy yourself. Just because you’re hosting Christmas doesn’t mean you should be miserable. Let the small stuff slide and focus on the bigger meaning of the day: enjoying the time spent with family and friends.