HOW TO KEEP THE PEACE THIS HOLIDAY


‘When I was 13, I spent Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s place. The plan was to wake up in the morning, get dressed and go to the church down the road. As in most homes, some of the big dishes for Christmas lunch were prepared before to ease the load in the morning. My aunt placed her pre-cooked roasted leg of lamb in the fridge on Christmas Eve and we were told not to touch it.


One of my uncles came back very late that night from a tavern and decided to help himself to a big chunk of lamb, while everyone was asleep. We were woken by a screeching voice furiously asking: "Who ate inyama yegusha (who ate the lamb meat)?" After a loud and chaotic investigation, we found my dear uncle under the covers, passed out, clutching the lamb bone. Arguments ensued and there wasn’t much Christmas cheer in the house for a while’.

The holidays are about family and friends getting together. It’s a time for happy reunions, catching up, sharing memories and just being together. However, the best of times can become the worst of times when several generations and clashing personalities gather under one roof.

Here are a few pointers on how to prevent disaster during the holidays.

PLAN AND PREP
Be practical, starting with how many people will arrive and making sleeping arrangements. Be aware of their expectations. Who needs a bed? Who will ask for transport? Are there out-of-towners who’d like a tour guide? As guests arrive, brief them about your plans and give them a run-down of what will happen during their stay. This will also ensure that you don’t run yourself ragged and get some time to enjoy the festivities with everyone. Some guests expect you to take care of their every need, but an itinerary will help keep the peace.

Tip: The house will be full. Consider hiring some extra furniture such as chairs, take out extra bedding and bulk up on daily supplies such as milk, cereal, and drinks.



TO-DO LIST
Make a complete list of your personal chores – from menus for every meal to the dreaded cleaning afterward. Be as kind to yourself as to others – share responsibilities with other family members and don't overload yourself.

Tip: Spread the list evenly amongst adults and kids. Delegate chores, such as plating up and washing dishes, to teenagers. Adults can handle duties like the braai and driving. This is a great way to avoid arguments.



SHARE THE LOAD
The Christmas lunch can strain you physically as well as financially. Finalise who will cook or what each family will be bringing, remember people like to feel helpful. Pitching in during this time will build a sense of family and bring out the holiday spirit in everyone.

Tip: Pre-cook big dishes and store in the fridge. You want to be able to host and have a good time as well.

SET THE MOOD
Now that you’ve opened up your home, you will need to make people feel welcome.

Set the dining table beautifully with crockery, cutlery and décor elements of your choice. A nice idea is to set up a children's table where kids can enjoy themselves and not fight over seating arrangements. Another great idea is setting up stations for snacks and drinks. People will feel comfortable moving about and they can help themselves to food and beverages.

Tip: Put together a mini bar that will have only alcoholic drinks and set up smaller stations for snacks, cold drinks and desserts. Background music sets a lovely tone and relaxes guests.



FUN ACTIVITIES
Have you found yourself completely bored and watching TV by 4.30pm on Christmas Day? Try a new approach this year. Create memories with loved ones by doing something unusual. After a meal, gather the family and reminisce about the good old times. Sharing fond memories with the little ones, especially, is a lovely way to reflect on the years gone by.

Tip: Before the big day, get old photos and videos from family members. Create a montage of old and sentimental pictures and video clips, save them on a USB stick and play it throughout the day. 

REMEMBER TO RELAX
Don’t fret about details or things that did not go according to plan. Avoid heated situations during the get-togethers – keep the peace by remaining neutral and keeping the focus on the spirit of Christmas. When it all gets too much, find a quiet space in the house where you can catch your breath before joining the festivities again.

Tip: Keep away from topics such as politics, religion, and sexuality. They usually stir up emotions and can lead to disaster.



HOW TO KEEP THE PEACE THIS HOLIDAY HOW TO KEEP THE PEACE THIS HOLIDAY Reviewed by Jet Club on December 20, 2018 Rating: 5

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