The Five Secrets To keeping Calm When Hosting Christmas Dinner.
And here we are again at Sweet Blog, the sweetest blog online.
Today, following some requests from our loyal readers who are supposed to be hosting Christmas dinner this year, we will present the essential principles that will help you host the holiday dinner without losing your sanity.
It's no secret that the holiday season can be challenging for quite a few families, and many tend to fight over holiday-related gatherings.
The reasons for these intrigues are multiple and quite intuitive/simple to understand.
Starting with unnecessary comments from a cranky aunt regarding the marital status of her second cousin, through a long-standing grudge competition prevailing between certain family members, and ending with the pressure to get everything done in terms of food quality and various hospitality elements of the holiday meal.
And don't even get us started on the tensions between wife and mother-in-law.
All these and more are like a bubble waiting to explode. And the holiday dinner table is the battleground.
This article will explain how you can host the holiday dinner, keep your sanity, and, more importantly, maintain healthy and loving family bonding/relationships.
And if by any chance This is your first rodeo as host - this article is a must-read!
As always, later in the article, a refreshing infographic presentation and a video summarizing its content will be presented to you.
'Keeping calm when hosting Christmas dinner.'
1. Take A Deep Breath.
Abraham Lincoln once said:
Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
In order to stay sane when hosting Christmas dinner, first and foremost, you need to be as prepared as possible. And by saying "prepared," we're referring to mental preparation.
You can do so by using several tools, the first of which is 'self-awareness.'
Studies suggest that self-awareness is one of the most powerful tools to help you deal with stress and unpleasant situations.
Complex family interactions undoubtedly fit the criteria.
Prior to holiday dinner and even before the actual preparations begin, Try bringing to your awareness that you are heading towards an atmosphere that may require mental abilities of a slightly different kind.
Once you have made peace with the fact that Aunt Emily will probably throw some snarky comments about your food quality (that you worked so hard to prepare...), and there is nothing you can do to prevent it because she is who she is - Your approach will be much 'lighter.'
Being aware in advance that your cousin Kirk tends to throw out snarky comments after he's had a few drinks, and he probably will this time, too - Will help you avoid overly grunting when it actually happens.
The exhausting process of the technical arrangement necessary for the holiday dinner, along with all the attention required for all the little details, may cause you a bit irritable very quickly, and That's why your ability to stop and take a deep breath will be much needed.
'And why is this happening?' You must be asking.
Well, this is a relatively broad psychological phenomenon we cannot fully explain here and now (and we don't want to either. This is not the concept of our blog), but in a nutshell - The frustration process we are familiar with from situations involved in anger - Originates from an inability to 'control things,' and our desire to impose ourselves/wishes on reality.
Eventually, when voluntarily reaching a 'lack of control mindset' from a place of full awareness - about that lack of control in question - everything becomes much more manageable since we don't expect anything and don't impose our will on reality.
As a matter of fact, this is the essence of self-awareness - To be aware of what is happening 'within you.' This way, you can transform from a reaction to an initiative, which is the essence of the freedom concept - mental freedom -The ability to consciously control the places your mind wants to take you.
So, the first step towards staying sane when hosting Christmas dinner is taking a deep breath and preparing for what's to come.
You will be surprised how light and pleasant it will make you feel.
And by the way, this tool contains another hidden advantage: Due to your 'mentally prepared' arrival, you subconsciously expect bad scenarios to happen ("Kirk and Emily will be unbearable! I'm sure of it"). So, if, after all, Kirk and Emily will surprise everyone and act reasonably like the two adorable lovebirds they are, you'll be more than happy about that.
And if they behave as expected - You are adequately prepared.
Just like Alexander Pope's annoying quote:
Don't expect anything, and you won't be disappointed.
Think about what's next. That way, you will arrive prepared
There are many examples, but the guiding principle is the same in all of them - Taking a deep breath and humbly embracing socially complex situations will be of great help.
So - Inhale and exhale!
2. Personal Taste.
Oscar Wilde once said:
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
Although, as hosts, Due to the differences between your guests' tastes/preferences, you will never be able to please everyone at any social gathering. Still, the difference between ordinary and perfect hospitality lies in your ability to make adjustments that will satisfy people's personal tastes as much as possible.
One of the actions you must take to get through the holiday dinner in one piece is to create a perfect hospitality experience for your guests. This way, you'll be able to minimize the comments/complaints, etc., and ensure that, ultimately, everyone will be happy.
'How do I do that?' You must be asking.
Well, as a first step, you can always start by reading the article from our sweet blog about the secrets of home-hosting.
As for the next step, although we are quite familiar with its complex nature, you will still need to apply things properly If you wish to conduct your holiday dinner in the best possible way. Thus keeping your guests satisfied and your sanity intact.
Before their arrival, you must discover your guests' personal tastes/preferences regarding the various food ingredients and the hospitality experience as a whole. Since these are family members/friends we are talking about, this is quite an achievable task.
Good hospitality is entirely dependent on the ability to provide superb personal experiences. One that makes every guest feel that despite the broader gathering, everything that happens is meant for him and him alone.
It is precisely the hospitality experience you should provide to your guests:
What's the spice that Aunt Gina can't stand?
How do you make the chicken soup so that David, your second cousin, will keep talking about it throughout the year?
Who is sensitive to lactose, and who has a problem with gluten?
Your sweet niece Rhonda, who can't stand her cousin Caroline, will go wild if she is seated next to her - Make sure that doesn't happen.
People are different creatures with different preferences. You must understand those of your guests
All these and more are just a tiny part of the optional examples. The guiding principle/equation is quite simple - Tailored adjustments to people's personal tastes equal 'happy guests,' and happy guests equal a holiday dinner conducted quietly and peacefully.
3. Perfect Implementation.
Benjamin Franklin once said:
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Like most things in life, preparation is a critical key to your success, which is doubly true when it comes to hosting.
The first and most crucial part of your preliminary preparation should ensure the total fulfillment of the three hospitality principles. Or, as we at Sweet crib usually call them: "Cco."
Applying these principles will ensure your home's preliminary preparation before guests' arrival will be ideal.
Clean and tidy - Cleanliness and orderliness - During the day prior to the guest's arrival, ensure your home is as orderly and clean as possible. Besides the well-known importance of a clean and tidy house, it will help you welcome your guests properly. You can read more here about practical tips that will easily help you do so.
Comfortable - Comfort is one of life's essential features in various aspects. Home comfort is just one of them.
Although ‘Comfort’ is a dynamic and subjective concept and each person has their own definition concerning its essence, however, it can be roughly estimated that there is a reasonably broad agreement regarding the ‘Comfort’ concept being desirable.
Odors - Diana Ackerman once said:
Nothing is more memorable than a smell.
The importance of a good home fragrance cannot be overstated. It's the first thing that accompanies everyone entering your home from the first second, even before seeing something.
Execute things in the best way possible!
Making the holiday dinner an event that is carefully/thoroughly planned and executed in the best way possible will ensure everyone's satisfaction while contributing to your peace of mind.
By the way, although strictness is a quality that helps you perform actions perfectly, one of the most important things that will help you get through Christmas dinner sanely is to be easygoing about your mistakes.
Don't be too hard on yourself.
By realizing there always were/are/will be some flaws in the elements of your hospitality (and that of every other host ever since. No one is perfect), the sense of enormous responsibility becomes a bit lighter.
Nobody's perfect. Lighten up a bit.
4. Sit Down & Talk.
In most cases, good communication is the foundation and key to success in most areas of life.
Unfortunately, and to everyone's dismay, at some point, a potential argument at Christmas dinner will likely take place between you/one of your nuclear family members and an outside guest; It's usually just how the way things go.
It would be in your own best interest to have a preliminary discussion with your family members concerning this issue so it will help you minimize the potential damages.
The key phrase is - 'Matching Expectations.'
Prior to Christmas dinner, you guys must be on the same page.
Do yourself a huge favor and take your spouse/children to get some ice cream in a relaxing environment a few hours before your guests arrive. That way, you will have the opportunity to get some fresh air and talk a bit while you are chilling.
Doing so will allow you to take the tools discussed in the above paragraphs and present their benefits for your family members.
While they are having their ice cream, say something like:
"Listen, guys. As you probably know, we're hosting the holiday dinner at our house this year. It's important that despite the personal beefs, which we are all aware of, we will try our best so that everything goes smoothly and nobody's ends up dead...
So, John/Melissa (you name them), although we know your cousin Jamie isn't exactly your cup of tea, and you feel like punching him every time he opens his mouth, we ask for your understanding concerning our desire to get through holiday dinner with as little argument as possible. In the end, it's all about having some fun."
Talk to each other and you'll be on the same page
5. Plan B.
There is a famous quote attributed to the great tennis player Serena Williams:
If Plan A isn't working, I have Plan B, Plan C, and even Plan D.
We don't want to sound like party poppers, but you should know it's very likely that everything we wrote above (hereafter: "Plan A") will not go as planned (To say the least...).
Just as the late Murphy claimed:
'Anything That Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong.'
The best way to function properly when your plan doesn't work is simply using a pre-prepared alternative technique, Better known as 'plan B.'
Literally, everything can go wrong and get out of control, contrary to what was planned - from the planning stage (you hoped for a particular thing and got something else) through the execution of the dinner itself ('Aunt Jean is lactose intolerant?! Dammit! I knew I forgot something!!!'), and up with one of your family members, who, despite your superb preparation, Due to too much alcohol and resentment built up over the years, is unable to control his emotions and snaps at someone else A second away from launching a bottle of wine at his head.
'How do I deal with that? ' You must be asking.
Well, As mentioned above, the best way involves preparing an alternative plan - "plan B."
Be prepared with a plan B!
'Easier said than done. How the hell am I supposed to know in advance if Uncle Johnny is going to lash out at James?!'
Well, you got that right. and indeed, there is no clear guidance regarding this strategy since these are dynamic matters uniquely tailored for your specific Christmas dinner table. However, the guiding principle is the same - try, as much as possible, to figure out the things that have even the slightest chance of not going as planned - and prepare an alternative course of action accordingly.
Doing so will reduce the chance of being surprised by unfortunate inconveniences since you have already prepared (for some) before their occurrence.
In conclusion, we hope that this article- 'The five secrets to keeping calm when hosting Christmas dinner' - and the tools presented within it will help you maintain your sanity while hosting Christmas dinner at your home.
Don't be hard on yourself. Hosting Christmas Eve dinner is indeed a challenging task that sometimes requires using some 'creative' means.
And if nothing works, an "accidental" power outage that forces everyone back to their homes is always a reasonable possibility.
If you've come this far, remember to jump into our collections page.
What are you waiting for?