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7 Ways to Spice Up Your Family Gathering (Holiday or Otherwise)

Anyone who knows me is well aware that Christmas is my favourite time of year. As soon as November 12th hits, my Christmas tree goes up and our lights go on. There’s nothing cuter to me than watching Beckett cautiously approach the decorations while exclaiming, “Pretty!”

I have always loved going home for the holidays, and bringing our 15-month old along with us has brought a new level of entertainment to our visits. This year, we spent 18 hours driving to three different cities and have been able to see all of Beckett’s grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles, and that feeling of togetherness is the part of Christmas that I cherish the most. I’m very lucky to have family on both sides who love spending time together and get along well approximately 95% of the time. Of course, we have to get our squabbles in somewhere, and over the years I have begun to recognize some of the events that tend to initiate their onset.

1. Invite your family to play a board game that will bring out the worst in everyone.

Do you have members of your family who hold different beliefs about the role of the rulebook while playing a board game? Do you have a brother who is extremely competitive and an aunt who firmly believes that the bank is meant for borrowing and that rules are meant for bending? Gather them together to play a game like Monopoly or Settlers of Catan, or, for those of you with relatives in Saskatchewan, The Farming Game. Do you have a grandmother who has never said a curse word any stronger than heck? Pair her up with your foul-mouthed sister for a rousing game of Things in a Box! Are you looking for a more intellectual way to divide your family and see Webster’s Dictionary used as a weapon rather than a reference guide? Try spelling the word xiz on a triple word space while playing Scrabble and wait for the fun to begin!

2. Gather the members of your family with the most polarizing opinions together for a discussion about politics, religion, and other hard-hitting global issues.


Watch everyone’s composure gradually crumble as they realize that calm, fact-based opinions can only go so far – in these types of conversations, he with the loudest voice has the best argument.

3. Steal the best gift in the White Elephant Gift Exchange from the person who was obviously delighted to win it.

Nothing brings out the spirit of giving more than the knowledge that you can also take away. Even the strongest friendships are no match for the power of a selfie stick or a MAC blush palette.

4. Indulge in one too many glasses of wine at dinner and treat everyone at the table to your expert opinions on everything.

This one speaks for itself, really.

5. Lay down on the couch after dinner and let everyone else take care of the dishes.

Regardless of how much you might feel like you are going to die from over-indulging in turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cookies and every other carb you could get your hands on, do not attempt to use this as an excuse to escape dish duty. As much pain as you feel you are in right now, it will be no match for what is sure to come if you do.


6. Give the gift of clothing to a child who is old enough to understand that this means they won’t be getting any toys from you. 

Just try convincing a three year old that the $65 outfit you spent the better part of an hour agonizing over is worth more than literally any toy you could have picked up for them from the dollar store.

7. Keep pestering your brother about whether or not he remembered to purchase an engagement ring for his girlfriend for Christmas. 

Nothing spells l-o-v-e like familial pressure!

Avoiding any and all of the above is sure to result in an argument-free holiday, but what’s the fun in that?

What did I miss? Drop me a line in the comments!

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