Like watching our all-time favorite movie, Christmas Vacation. Even though we’ve seen that movie hundreds of times, we still laugh at the true-to-life scenes.
Remember the scene in Christmas Vacation when the extended Griswold family arrives? Too loud. Too many critiques. Too much information. And as their visit continues, they are needy, messy, demanding, and yes, even embarrassing.
I love that family because it’s a fictional one that makes me laugh at the awkward moments they cause, but no one – trust me, no one – wants that family to come for a visit. Ever. So to help us all avoid being that family, I’ve compiled a Holiday Help List to ensure our families are a blessing to our hosts, not a burden.
Do take a gift – a small gesture of gratitude at the beginning of your stay goes a long way to setting the tone of your visit. Remember, your host likely spent hours preparing for you. Be appreciative.
Do lend a hand – pitch in to prepare meals and cleanup afterward so that the host isn’t overwhelmed. But be sure to follow the host’s lead. It’s not your kitchen!
Do contribute some groceries – bring a few side dishes or desserts. If your visit lasts several days, consider taking your hosts out for dinner one evening or supplying a few meals at their house. (Unless, of course, your name is Aunt Bethany. No one wants Jello Mold with kitty litter topping.)
Do show interest in others – disregard any notions you already have about your extended family and get to know them in a fresh way this season! (That includes getting to know crazy Cousin Eddie. You can do anything for a few days, right?)
Don’t leave your belongings lying around – keeping your items in your room helps to eliminate a little clutter from an already full house.
Don’t let your children run wild – your hosts WILL talk about you after you leave. Don’t give them ammunition. Send the kids outside to play or keep the noise level to a minimum. Prep the kids in advance to say please/thank you and be respectful.
Don’t be a couch potato – get out of the house! Being gone for an hour or two each day of an extended stay allows your host to have a mini-break. No matter how much they love you, they need a break!
Trust me, even if we follow these guidelines, we can still find ourselves in the middle of frustrating or awkward moments over the holidays (think: the swat team busting through the Griswold’s windows after Cousin Eddie hog-ties Clark’s boss). If we plan to be a guest in someone’s home this Thanksgiving or Christmas, let’s at least make a plan to be a blessing rather than a burden.
If you are the host rather than the guest this holiday season, check back tomorrow for a Holiday Help List just for you.