The holiday season is something that many people look forward to every year, as family and friends gather together to enjoy food and fellowship. Today, it’s not unusual for extended family members and friends to live thousands of miles away, so the opportunity to gather under one roof is special. Still, sometimes a gathering of loved ones can be strained for reasons ranging from personal to political. This being the case, it’s important to keep in mind some dos and don’ts for the holidays.
1. Be Respectful of Everyone
Respect goes a long way, and it’s a two-way street. It’s important to understand that not everyone has to see things our way. Just because one family member happens to be a liberal college student who lives in New York City doesn’t mean his point of view is any less valid than the conservative family member visiting from Des Moines. A good rule of thumb is to listen more than you speak and not to take things personally.
It also helps to keep in mind that you’re more than likely surrounded by your family and friends. These are people that you love and who love you, so why not make an effort to put your best foot forward and hold your tongue when necessary, even if others fail to hold theirs.
2. Avoid the Heavy Topics
When meeting with family and friends who hold a variety of political views, the topics of conversation should remain light. Think sports, entertainment, and family accomplishments. Try and stay away from heavier topics such as politics and religion. This isn’t to say that heavier topics shouldn’t be discussed, and if they are, everyone should be able to remain civil.
Something else that should be avoided is personal issues or disagreements with friends and family. The holidays are generally not an ideal time to hash out past problems with people. If a confrontation with someone can’t be avoided, make sure that it’s removed from the larger gathering. And make sure to try and deescalate any rising tensions.
3. Don’t Forget the Food
There’s no denying that one of the best things about the holidays is all the great food available. Can you even imagine Thanksgiving or Christmas without food? Because food is such a big part of the holidays, it’s important to contribute something. If you’re unable to find out what’s needed for a holiday get-together, go with something that most people appreciate, like a pie or a cake.
If you’re hosting a holiday get-together, you might even decide to get adventurous with the food and beverages. For example, why not spice things up a bit with a cream charger and dispenser? Make desserts and drinks that your family will remember. Preparing tasty dishes will work wonders in terms of making sure spirits remain high.
4. Try to Lay Off the Alcohol
It seems like there’s nothing that loosens tongues and causes tempers to flare more than a lot of alcohol flowing. And if you think you need alcohol to have a good time, you might have other issues. The holidays are not typically considered adult gatherings, namely because usually there are a number of children present, so why the need for all the alcohol?
If people do choose to drink, make sure they do so responsibly. If you happen to notice someone overdoing it, discreetly let them know or simply cut them off if the gathering is in your home. If you’re visiting family or friends, pull the host aside and let her know about your concerns. Leave the alcohol in the bars so that nothing comes between your enjoyment of family and friends.
The holidays are special times because they bring together family and friends who may rarely be under the same roof. But there are potential pitfalls that can sour a holiday get-together. This being the case, it’s important to be respectful of everyone at the gathering, avoid heavy topics, such as politics and religion, and limit the consumption of alcohol. Contributing great food never hurts either. Remember, the holidays should be about food, family, and fellowship.