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Holiday time can be stressful because families often end up spending a lot of time together – and not everyone gets along (think: bored children). If you've been invited to a holiday event, here's some advice on making the most of it.   

  • If you have kids, go over manners and house rules with them so they know how they should behave.
  • Remember, you can't control other people's behaviour so control your own. If someone is likely to push your buttons, tell yourself before you go to the event that you're not going to be a part of that – keep them at a distance and enjoy the company of the people you do get along with. 
  • Avoid serious discussions. If someone starts going on about an inappropriate topic for the event, say: “Oh, I don't think we should talk about that now, how about another day?” Then change the subject or leave the room.
  • Bring a hostess gift. A bottle of wine is always nice, but don't expect to drink that bottle. That's up to the host. A gift certificate for dinner out is a great hostess gift. So are flowers, scented candles or a special tree ornament.
  • Advise the hostess ahead of time if someone in your family or group has special dietary needs. Offer to bring a dish for that person. If that's not possible, suggest the person do the best they can with what's there, and maybe they should eat beforehand if possible.
  • Lend a hand when and if it makes sense. Helping to clear the table or keep the kitchen clean is usually welcome – but take the cue from the hostess, say the Home Service Professionals at MOLLY MAID.  
  • Be respectful of the time and don't over-stay your welcome. If the hostess keeps looking at the clock you should probably organize yourself to leave.