You were excited when you picked a date for a big family get-together and called everyone with an invitation. Now you’re worried. Work is busier than expected, the kids are doing a different activity each night and you just don’t have time to plan all the details.
Don’t panic. We’ve put together a simple checklist to get you through this. It will help set your plans in motion and take away any stress you might be feeling, so you can focus on enjoying your family celebration. Here’s what to do.
1. Buy in bulk
While catering or take-out options are certainly appealing, they do add an extra level of financial stress to your family gathering. Instead, plan a couple of simple, delicious dishes and buy those ingredients in bulk to save money. You can also prepare dishes with items that are on sale at your local grocery store.
2. Let others help
When Uncle Joe or Aunt Sue asks “What can I bring?” be sure to avoid the knee-jerk “Oh, nothing” response. If they’re willing to help, let them! There will be less for you to buy and prepare in the days leading up to the gathering, alleviating some of the stress of hosting. Many hands make light work.
3. Make a seating plan
A seating plan may seem formal, but it could be helpful depending on your family dynamics. If there are certain people who just don’t get along, a seating plan might be a quick and painless fix.
4. Set boundaries
If there are certain topics that you know could derail the evening, just a quick reminder may be enough to stop an argument before it happens. When trouble is on your radar, be prepared to casually shift the conversation or go “take care of something” in the kitchen.
5. Be ready with games
There’s a time to talk and there’s a time to play. Have a couple of fun games in your back pocket for the latter. While it’s great to talk with cousin Stu about his new job and his take on politics, it’s even more entertaining to watch him try to draw a tree house during a game of Pictionary. Or gather the game around the video game console. (Read our expert tips for beginner gamers.)
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