Griswold (Don’t) Wannabe’s Part 2

griswold houseNext week the first wave of holiday festivities rolls in with Thanksgiving! I, for one, can’t wait for walks in the woods, pumpkin pie (which I’ve already been enjoying), and the Alabama/Auburn game. Some years I have hosted the festivities; other years I’ve been a guest in a family member’s home. Either way, all those festivities require responsibilities of me.

Yesterday, I shared a Holiday Help List for those of us who will be guests this year. Our goal should be to be a blessing not a burden to those who host us over the holidays. Our hosts likely spend hours, if not days, in preparation for our arrival, and the least we can do is to show our appreciation while we visit.

If you are hosting people in your home this Thanksgiving and Christmas, you might be overwhelmed with a never-ending task list: fresh linens, polished furniture, the perfect menu, a manicured lawn, and the facade of a peaceful family. Yikes! By the time your families arrive, you might be already tapped out! Never fear. your Holiday Help List is here! I’ve compiled a few tips to help you manage a house full of people and still keep your sanity.

Do lower your expectations – things aren’t going to go perfectly. Don’t expect your dysfunctional family to suddenly act like Miss Manners has personally mentored them.

Do provide your guests with a space to call their own – make space in a closet for their items and clear out a bathroom for their use. Giving them space means their clutter is out of view and not underfoot.

Do delegate – ask others to pitch in to set the table, get something out of the oven, or take out the trash. Ask kids to put ice in the glasses and refill drinks. Request everyone to help clear the table when the feast is over. Asking for help doesn’t make you less of a host; it actually invites people into your world where memories are made.

Do model the way – begin the holiday meal by sharing why you have invited everyone to your home. Be specific as you share why you are thankful. Your words will be a blessing, and they just might be contagious.

Do share your plans – letting your extended-stay guests know what to expect will help everyone. Planning a few activities at specific times gives everyone something to look forward to (movie night, shopping day, meal time, etc).

Do relax – sit on the couch and chat with your family for an hour or two. Play cards. Drink hot cocoa and go for a walk. Don’t do…just be. Your guests will actually relax more if they see you relaxing, too. Trust me, if they need something, I’m sure they can find the fridge or the TV remote.

Let’s not just “make it through” the holidays. Let’s relish our time with family and friends! Let’s not sweat the details….let’s lavish our families with love and attention. Perfection isn’t the goal. Memories are. So, clear out a closet and pull a few extra chairs to the table, and then be with your family and friends. No, really. Be with them. Love them. Make memories with them.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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