holiday-survival-guideAh, the romance of home for the holidays.

NOT. Right? Why do we do this to ourselves? But we do. That’s why I’ve put together this hand home-for-the-holidays survival guide.

Keep it simple.

Save fancy gourmet creations for a dinner party. Make the meal easy to fix, share the preparation and do as much make-ahead food as possible so you, too, can enjoy the day. It’s your holiday, too. If some of your company isn’t cooking anything, ask them to help clean up. If you’re the guest and have no time to cook, offer to bring the wine. Then, bring plenty of it.

Avoid picky-eater arguments.

If your kids or grandkids are picky eaters, this is not the time to coax them to try giblet stuffing. Do have something they like to eat, even it if it’s just mac ‘n cheese. And if you aren’t their mom, have their mom fix it.

Don’t argue with vegetarians or vegans.

Enough said.

Include high-protein appetizers.

Oh those boozy political discussions! Ban them. I mean it. Ban them.

But maybe there are other potential pitfall conversations. We metabolize alcohol better with some protein in our tummies. If you’re serving drinks, have high-protein appetizers available. That means appetizers with cheese and meat. Chips and guac won’t cut it for this purpose.

Make family visits AFTER the meal.

If possible, make the rounds of family after you eat. That avoids having family members at the table who are half-potted from making the rounds before dinner.

Do not empty the wassail bowl.

I’ve been to holidays with drunken sobbing by people who knew better. Moderation in all things, including the wassail bowl.

Be patient.

Shiz happens on holidays. Keep the peace on this one day. Even if you have to work hard to hold your tongue.

Don’t overdo.

Many families celebrate both Christmas Eve and Christmas together. I think that’s a bad idea. If you have a multi-day holiday celebration, pick one holiday for a family dinner. Do what you want the other day, even if it’s just going to a movie and having wine and cheese. We do that at our house and treasure that time to celebrate alone.


Plan a post-holiday debrief: a get together out somewhere with your favorite female friends when the whole thing is over. A safe place to express your frustration, laugh at what happened and to just have the good time you hoped you’d have on the holiday.

Because that group of friends? They’ll get you. They probably have their own crazy holiday stories to relate.

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