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How to Prepare for Family Gatherings This Holiday Season

Oh, the holiday season. We love this time of year. The Christmas tree, the holiday lights, the hot chocolate and the giving spirit.

But the holiday season is not always the happiest of times for people. This is because for many, there becomes growing anxiety about having to spend time with family you have not seen all year. That grandma who has no filter, the cousin who drinks too much or the kids wound up on too much sugar. When you get the family together for the holiday season, drama is bound to ensue.

However, there are ways to make your family gathering this holiday season more bearable. You do not have to go through this period feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Instead, you can come up with a plan of attack so that you feel prepared no matter whose house you are gathering at, who will be there and ensure that it does not become a Christmas nightmare.

That is why we have collected all the tips and tricks of Christmas past so you can keep up the holiday spirit and not let the stress and anxiety of family make you a Christmas grinch—because that is a title that absolutely no one wants.

Here are all the ways you can prepare for family gatherings this holiday season.

Bust out the Music, and the Dance Moves

One way to get your whole family bonded is by getting some great music playing. Music has a direct impact on creating an atmosphere, so why not use it to get everyone in great spirits. There are tons of different ways to lighten the mood with music and ensure everyone is in the holiday spirit. You can download some pre-curated playlists on Spotify or even bust out your record player to turn on some blue note jazz. It likely won’t be long until everyone in the house is dancing and having a great time.

Prepare to Make a Feast

With lots of people gathering in one place will come lots of cooking—more so than usual. If you are hosting the family gathering at your place, make sure you have all the cookware you need to make massive meals and multiple dishes at once. Similar to Thanksgiving, it will help to plan out the meals at least a week in advance and do a big shopping trip for all the ingredients needed. And if you are going to someone else’s house for the family gathering, definitely do not show up empty-handed. Take the time to contribute to the gathering by making a dish in advance or, if you are short on time, ordering something like a  Porto’s meat pie—where all you have to do is put it in the oven and let it bake before serving. Regardless of where the gathering occurs, food is an absolute must as no one wants to endure a hangry relative!

Have a First Aid Kit Ready

With lots of family gathering together, chances are at least one will get sick or injured. So you will want to make sure you have some go-to medicines in case a family member needs it. This is especially important if kids or the elderly plan to be in attendance at the gathering too. One item that should be in everybody’s kit is Hempvana Pain Relief Cream, as it will help with any aches, pains or bruising that takes place in the house. And, of course, you will want to make sure you buy clean medicine that has only the good ingredients in them that both the kids and adults can take. Accidents happen, but you can certainly be prepared for them!

Bring Lots of Alcohol, and We Mean Lots

Seriously, one of the best ways to endure these family gatherings is to drink alcohol. And lots of it. If you are hosting, make sure that your family (the ones who are of age) are never without a drink in their hand. Buy crates of wine online in advance and have them delivered to your home. Don’t forget about the cocktail bar as well. This is one way to surely win over even the harshest critic in your family. One of the trendiest spirits is mezcal, where it is similar to tequila but we think a bit classier. When everyone is drinking, everyone will be able to relax and endure even the more awkward family encounters.

Decorate the House

If you are hosting this family gathering, then definitely do not shy away from decorating the house for the holidays. This. means busting out the Christmas tree and showing off your best ornaments, putting a mistletoe underneath the door, bringing out all your nutcrackers and adding those small touches that can really make a house feel like Christmas—such as a  festive scented candle. And if you are visiting someone else’s house for the family gathering, certainly do not show up empty-handed. Bringing over holiday flower arrangements is a great way to help the host further decorate their home and will certainly make them appreciate you in thinking of them.

Prepare for the Kids

With families come the little ones. So it is best to be prepared for them and remember that they have different needs than the adults. This means finding ways to entertain them during the day with things like Jackbox Games or creating a craft center in the living room. You will also want to have all the necessities that any parents need should the gathering last until the evening. This means having a place where the kids can nap and even providing some baby night time body wash in case the day truly does go into the night.

Develop an Itinerary

Families are often most functional when they have a plan to follow. That is why it could be very helpful for you to build out an itinerary of how you see the gathering unfolding. Create a timetable for when various meals will be served, when gift exchanges will take place and when game night will truly start. This plan, even if not shared with the others, will help you keep everything moving along so the gathering can run smoothly and hopefully drama-free.

So in conclusion, you really do not have to stress about the upcoming family gatherings this holiday season. The real key is taking the time to prepare in advance and making a plan for you to follow. If you are hosting the gathering, make sure to plan out your meals at least a few days earlier, take the time to really decorate and re-arrange the house and stock up on the necessities for both kids and adults.

And if you are heading over to a relative’s house, take the time to try to help them out. Whether that means bringing a gift or a pre-cooked dish, your relatives will appreciate the gesture and make sure you are in their good books too.

As you prepare to see all those members of your family you really only interact with once a year, it is also important to remember that all families have disfunciton. All families have drama. But at the end of the day, coming together to celebrate the holidays is what family is truly about.



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