Christmas means one thing.
Turkey. Presents. A week off work. A monster credit card bill in January. Snow. Family. Either you going to stay with other family, maybe not even your own, or them coming to stay with you. We always host at Christmas and whilst I can’t say I am an expert in this, I do think we have pretty much got it nailed for avoiding family arguments. Unless everybody is going down the garden to shout in the shed of course. So I thought I would share my top tips for surviving staying with relatives, or having them all in your house.
Do your planning in advance
Where will people stay? Have you got enough beds? Towels? Even cutlery. Do you need stair gates to keep little ones safe? If you get it all planned ahead of time then you wont be panicking the day before when you can’t find the spare pillow cases. It might seem trivial now but with all the other planning that goes into Christmas you can do without this one on top.
Offer to help and make sure accept!
Offering to help seems like a given but even hearing it still makes it hard to actually accept and give somebody a job. But people genuinely like to help, feel like they have contributed. And if they don’t well then maybe you can gently teach them! Mr B has a knack of asking if he can help by walking into the kitchen and saying “give me a job” or “what can I do”. As though he expects to be given something to do. There is no “you will say if I can help, wont you?” wishy washy, it is a firm “give me something to do” and it works. Equally if people ask if they can help I do my best find something, even small for them to do. My philosophy is that if I don’t they won’t ask again. And I will get no sympathy when I collapse with a gin and say how exhausted I am if people can then say “well we did offer”.
Let people do their own thing
If you have relatives staying for a week don’t to offended if they say they are off to a nearby attraction for the day, either offering to take you, or going on their own. Just because they are staying for a week doesn’t mean you have to do things together all day every day. Similarly don’t think you have to be in charge of organising something to do every day. Just sitting at home and watching a film, or going for a walk after lunch might be nice. But doesn’t have to be planned as such.
Check out what is on the TV
We are lucky that we have two TVs in our house so if some people want to watch Match of the Day, but others want to catch up on Corrie, we can go to separate rooms and nobody feels they are missing out. Similarly though make sure that everybody who is coming has the password to your Wi-fi so they can catch up on stuff on their tablets. Especially if you have younger guests who you don’t necessarily want padding about downstairs turning on the TV at 6am just because they are awake!
Or download programmes to a tablet
Services like Amazon Prime Video let you download content to watch off line. So if you don’t want the youngsters having free reign of the internet at 6am you can still let them watch their favourite programmes by having them readily downloaded on to a tablet. There is so much to choose from, from little cartoons to full blown films that it is a great way to keep people amused. Even the older generation with a set of headphones! My father in law has heard so much about the Grand Tour that I think he might binge watch them on Boxing Day. Ditto my mother in law with The Collection.
In fact I think we might need to get a few more tablets, or a communal Kindle to keep everybody happy!