Anyone that has ever had a family gathering knows just how difficult they can be. If it's not Aunt Marge duking it out with Uncle Phil for something that happened years ago, then it's probably the dog running off with the turkey. For some reason family dinners never really seem to go the way that we might like or want. As the host, no one feels the embarrassment or stress of a mismanaged family dinner more. Use these simple guidelines to help you host a successful family dinner.
- Know your guests. Knowing who your guests are is a key element of any successful family dinner. Take the time to actually write a guest list out and plan who will, or should, sit next to each other. If you know that Uncle Phil and Aunt Marge haven't gotten along with each other for years, avoid a scene by separating them at the dinner table. By the same token, try to keep children separated from adults (a kid's table is usually a great idea) to keep any potentially embarrassing moments or comments to a minimum.
- Don't do it all yourself. Just because you are hosting a family dinner doesn't mean that you are expected to do everything yourself. Ask other family members to help out by bringing favorite dishes, setting the table, or taking care of children and pets. Assign all tasks prior to the dinner party to help reduce the chance of misunderstanding and miscommunication.
- Let it go. When hosting a family dinner, one common cause of disturbances is the dredging up of past issues or being overly sensitive about something that one of the guests said. By refusing to engage, you will be doing your best to be a gracious host and helping everyone have a good time.
- Time limits are good. Everyone gets tired as time goes by, and a family dinner is no different. Tensions are likely to rise between guests and host alike if everyone stays past their welcome. Have a clear-cut time for when everything is supposed to end and remind everyone that there will be other times that the family can get together.
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