How to Handle the Holidays with Grace

 

If dinner goes up in flames…
While certainly not ideal, as the hostess with the mostess it’s paramount you stay, calm, cool, and collected if something goes awry in the kitchen. Before the big day (Thanksgiving or Christmas), stock your pantry and fridge with back-up provisions in the rare event you have to make a quick and easy “plan b” meal (think a fabulous pasta dish, fresh caprese salad, and decadent gelato). It may not be what you had planned, however it will be delicious, you will be impossibly prepared, and the most important thing is you’ll still be able to enjoy time with loved ones.

If you overhear friends loudly quarreling about at your cookie exchange party…
Public arguments are as sticky as toffee pudding! To avoid a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills type brawl, walk over and casually ask one of them to help you in the kitchen. By giving them some space, they can cool down and gather themselves. If the friend you bring to the kitchen vents about the quarrel, listen, stay neutral, and warmly share that you know this is important to her but would she mind  finishing the discussion after the party.

If Aunt Milly pesters you about having children…

Bless her heart! Relatives love to inquire about the personal details of our lives during the holidays, and more often than not, the intentions are pure as the driven snow. Instead of getting huffy about Aunt Milly’s high hopes for you to have a babe, give her a warm smile, let her know it will be so special to be a mom when the time is right, and casually change the subject. If you still find yourself irritated by the interrogation, remember my motto: Always be kinder than you need to be!
 
If you’re worried your house guests will overstay their welcome like last year…
As we say in our book, Savvy Girl: A Guide to Etiquette, “House guests are like fish, they begin to stink after 3 days!” Before your holiday house guests arrive, politely and tactfully suggest the time frame of their visit and set expectations.

If you RSVP’d to a holiday party, but would rather attend another you were invited to…
You’re a radiant social butterfly and in high demand this holiday season! What’s a girl to do? If you’ve already RSVP’d to a party, you need to stay strong with your commitment and instead of bailing to go to bigger better soiree. Since you’re unable to attend the second fete, consider taking that host out for drinks or lunch post-party.

If a friend gives you a gift and you don’t have one for her…
It’s normal to feel a bit awkward when this happens, as our natural reaction is to reciprocate. Graciously thank your friend for the lovely gift and share how much you adore it instead of dwelling on the fact you don’t have anything for her. Also, try to avoid, “you shouldn’t have done that,” as you don’t want to minimize her thoughtfulness. If you feel indebted, consider taking her out for a fabulous brunch, or dropping off a divine homemade baked good at her house as a thank you.

If your colleague corners you under the mistletoe at the Christmas party…
I think we can all agree it’s best not to dip the pen in the company ink! If your colleague has had one too many eggnog’s and tries to steal a holiday smooch, laugh it off with a “you’re so funny!” type remark, and go chat with some other co-workers.

Ask B: Cooking for a Crowd

Caitlin McGauley

Dear B, 

 
My husband and I have recently chosen to eliminate gluten and dairy from our diet in an effort to eat healthier. We are hosting my family for Thanksgiving this year and while we’re excited about cooking, none of them follow our new diet so we’re not sure what to prepare that we can all enjoy. Would it be rude to cook dishes that adheres to our new diet, even though my family eats gluten and dairy?

Sincerely, 
Dietary Dilemma 


Dietary Dilemma,Let me just say I commend you for the willpower you have to adhere to this diet – good for you and wishing you success in quest for good health! To keep everyone happy and thankful this Thanksgiving, I advise that you create a a variety of dishes to please everyone’s palates, as it’s considerate to take into account your guest’s preferences as well since they are not on this diet (*if you had a severe food allergy, then I would advise you prepare food that eliminates anything you’re allergic too). Since your family doesn’t have any eating restrictions, I’m guessing they will want to indulge in a bit of butter and stuffing next week and by golly let them do so! So here’s what you do – since you can all eat turkey, prepare a gorgeous golden bird, and then whip up a variety of side dishes that are traditional as well as those that align with your diet, and that way everyone is happy and well-fed. Side dish considerations: mashed potatoes (for your fam), roasted butternut squash (for you and your hubby), stuffing (for your fam), sautéed haricot verts (for everyone), etc. As for dessert, consider two options, such as a decadent pecan pie for the fam, and then a gluten, dairy free treat for you, your hubby, and anyone else who is so inclined. Happy Thanksgiving!