I hate to admit it, but there are times when a tough conversation may not be advisable. Take, for example, Holiday Season. Let’s say that this Christmas, or Hanukah, it’s your turn to host the family. This may mean houseguests. Cousins or children or whoever are visiting for a couple of days. Too much may be going on for you all to launch into a heavy-duty conversation about Mother’s driving, moving grand dad to a nursing home, or discussing a relative’s will.
For that matter, it may be useful to examine what you can you do as host to ensure that your guests have a positive and memorable visit.
1. Don’t over-program. Unless your visitors are high-energy personalities and are happy to go along with whatever you suggest, why not suggest options before their visit and/or have a few possibilities in mind when they arrive? Don’t appear let down if your guest doesn’t share your enthusiasm for a museum visit or a nature walk.
2. Think through surprises: Be they in the food department, or the unexpected appearance of a long-lost relative showing up, or another Guess What?
3. Check possible food allergies, dietary restrictions, etc., before your guests arrive. Tis better to prepare an extra veggie or two before the big Xmas feast than learn of Cousin Ann’s recent conversion to vegetarianism just as you begin surgery on a perfectly cooked gobbler. And if a guest brings along his or her own gluten-free, carb-free, salt-free, fat-free, and sugar-free whatever, let it go.
4. Tread softly on the jobs front. With so many folks out of work, you may want to tiptoe around your son-in-law’s employment situation; especially if you’ve heard rumblings about cut-backs at his place of work.
5. Try (gently) to find out about your guests’ departure times. You don’t want your “What time are you leaving?” query to sound like an invitation to depart sooner than planned.
6. Transportation. You’re in line for a Silver Star for Hosting if you arrange for your over-night guests to have use of a car during their visit. This gives both you and your guests a chance for a few hours’ respite from each other.
7. Pets Department. If you know that one of your guests ‘has a thing’ about animals, keep Fido, the pup, or Hermione, the cat, out of the dining room and kitchen during meals. At least Aunt Alice who hates your cat (above all others) won’t go ballistic like the time when the critter jumped into her lap as she was about to tuck into your home-made pumpkin pie.
Let us know your favorite tips. And enjoy your guests!