Boundaries To Set Before Holiday Guests Arrive
ouldn’t it be great if we could do something that would guarantee that our Thanksgiving gathering would be 100% conflict-free? Unfortunately, there’s no way to do that, but setting some boundaries with guests before Turkey Day can help things go more smoothly.
Agreeing to ground rules like these can help minimize conflicts and awkward moments:
- Come up with a food plan - Since this holiday is all about food, many of the day’s activities are centered around cooking and eating … and things can easily get heated. Competing recipes and cooking techniques can have tensions running high and having too many cooks in the kitchen doesn’t help. Making a plan for who’s making each dish to coming up with a cooking schedule so people aren’t fighting over kitchen space and oven time can help.
- Get the timing right - Beyond the meal, hosts have a lot of prep work and cleaning to do both before and after the feast. That’s why agreeing on a time guests should arrive AND leave is important. Nobody wants to feel like they have to kick people out, especially on Thanksgiving.
- Respect new and old traditions - While we all have family holiday traditions, the pandemic disrupted holiday gatherings for the last couple of years, so some people have started their own traditions. Some folks may not be ready to give up their traditions, so talking about how to combine the old and new ahead of the holiday can help. Maybe you can alternate things year-to-year so everyone feels included. Whatever works to keep the peace and help your loved ones enjoy the holiday gathering is the way to go.
- Setting boundaries about not criticizing other people’s cooking is a good idea too, unless you want Aunt Margaret telling everyone how she would have made the pies the right way!
- At this stage of my life I prefer smaller gatherings.
- Has your family ever had major conflict at a holiday gathering? What happened?