It’s always nice to see our family members and those we cherish, which usually extends to entertaining and hosting them when needed. That being said, hosting people takes energy, time and no uncertain amount of cost to do well, and so most prefer to plan out these visits in advance. This is especially true of the festive period.
However, if you’ve been asked at short notice to host members of your extended family, you may still be happy to do it, even if this vastly changes your plans. You may find yourself stressing and worrying about the plans that you now have to retrofit to include everyone.
Let’s make this process a little easier for you to handle and deal with. It’s the least you deserve at such a busy time!
Plan Accommodations In Advance
It’s important to be very clear-eyed about where and when your extended family will stay. If you don’t have the space in the household to host them for the week, then that’s fine too. You might ask them to take up a local AirBnB or book a room in a trustworthy hotel, which can be much more comfortable during the festive period. Then you can tell them when to come and visit each day. This way, you can at least plan your own family life around theirs, without feeling the irritation of being overcrowded for multiple days at a time.
Ask For Help With The Festive Food
You might not have prepared your table for a combined festive meal, and now you may have up to five new people coming, that’s many more mouths to feed. It’s fine to ask for help with this added requirement, especially because arriving at a family member’s house with little notice and expecting them to foot the bill is bad form.
You might ask them to bring a new festive cake, some of the side food, or whatever other ingredients is customary at your table. You might also ask them to bring some wine or other tipple so they don’t drink you out of house and home. Then, of course, you can ask them to remind you of any allergies you have to think about. Perhaps you can enlist help with the cooking, such as making dauphinoise potatoes, which is harder to spell than to cook, trust us on that! Either way, knowing that cooking food won’t feel like fighting an utter assault course is a nice place to start.
Set Some Ground Rules
Family can be unpredictable. Perhaps yours are always on their best behavior and you can absolutely trust them to be as respectful as possible. Perhaps that won’t be the case. For example, if your relative is allergic to dogs, you might tell them that while you’ll make a real effort to keep them separate from one of your pooches, you can’t realistically lock your dog in the garage or utility room during the whole period, because that’s cruel. Or, perhaps you’ll ask them to leave before 11pm because that’s when your children usually go to bed, even if they let theirs stay up afterwards.
Sure it’s the festive period, but it’s important to be clear about the realistic parameters of how you run your household. You may even set some fast rules, for example, a recovering aunty is never allowed to touch a drop of alcohol, and you’ll all make sure to look after her that way. These little elements can help you nail any worried loose ties before they become a problem, and that lets you relax a little.
Set A Rough Itinerary
It’s nice to have a vague idea of what you’re doing each day because that provides structure. If you’ve been planning to head to a theatre show, perhaps they can buy last-minute tickets to come along, or if not, they may have to make their entertainment for that evening. If you plan to visit your church or other religious gathering, then make that clear too.
A rough itinerary allows everyone to know what to expect, and that can also help your extended family, who may be staying in a hotel or otherwise, to make their own plans when they need to, like visiting other members of the family. After all, just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean you have to be glued at the hip.
With this advice, you’re sure to cope with the sudden need to host your family members during the festive period. Remember, you’re doing your loved ones a favor here, so don’t worry about being perfect and making everything picturesque, you’re allowed a little breathing space.