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Etiquette Advice for Family Gatherings

Etiquette Advice for Family Gatherings


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What to remember when bringing together extended family

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Family

When entertaining, there are two secrets to a host’s success: An ability to bring together people and create lasting memories, and the foresight to see — and resolve — problems before they arise. Once a week, our resident experts Mindy Lockard and Coryanne Ettiene will weigh in with helpful advice to help the modern host tackle even the stickiest of situations with grace. Have a question you want answered? Send us an email with your dilemma, and then check back every week for new tips and advice.

This week’s question:

I’m hosting a family gathering and am trying to be mindful of different interests. Do I have to make sure that I have something planned for everyone?

Coryanne: Family gatherings can be tricky, especially when family cliques are involved and relatives are traveling great distances to be part of the celebration. Not everyone needs to be involved in every single activity, but everyone needs to feel welcome. Be mindful of your seating plans when arranging family meals, be aware of who needs more attention to feel welcome, and ensure that you have one or two activities where everyone can participate together. If time allows, ask everyone to contribute a few family photos and create a slideshow that you can watch together, or if time is not on your side, plan a friendly game of charades.

Mindy: There can be a lot of pressure when it comes to hosting anyone, let alone family. Be sure to do a lot of communication ahead of time. As host, you are also the expert on the area, so find five to eight activities that you can plan for the gathering and poll interest by email. This way, you are still directing the activities but also giving your guests a say. From this feedback, you can create an itinerary that is sent in advance so everyone knows what to expect — and no one feels left out. And don’t forget to enjoy this special time with your family!

About Our Experts: Mindy Lockard is The Gracious Girl and offers traditional etiquette advice with a modern gracious twist. Coryanne Ettiene believes entertaining at home should be an everyday affair; she shares contemporary advice for modern living at Housewife Bliss.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.


If Your Family Fights About Politics, Here's How to Avoid a Big Blowup Over the Holidays

Bringing together family members with different political views (and big personalities) can make holiday gatherings painful. Etiquette experts share pro tips for keeping the peace this holiday season.

Political arguments are an issue that’s plagued family holiday celebrations for decades, but lately it seems to be particularly pronounced. In theory, healthy, productive political discussions between smart, grounded loved ones should be encouraged but, in reality, the often-controversial subject of politics is more difficult to contain than ever, especially at holiday gatherings where family members of different political views feel comfortable enough to go head-to-head (and particularly after a few cocktails). It’s rare for the conversation not to teeter on the edge of discomfort, at the very least.

Despite your being blood relatives, a range of factors can cause political arguments between family members, including generational divides, personality types, varying levels of education, and personal political opinions. And these days, these can be dangerous waters to navigate at a family dinner or event.

From an etiquette standpoint, politics have no place at the table. “Tradition would dictate you don’t speak about politics at the table,” says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and CEO of her own lifestyle and coaching company. 𠇋ut because of our modern society today and the current political climate that’s super prevalent in our everyday lives—whether it’s a policy or a law that is affecting many of our lives—stifling guests or family members from having a conversation at all would be difficult.”

So what can you do? We spoke to a few etiquette experts who weigh in on what to do to prevent an overheated political argument between family members who butt heads𠅊nd exactly what to say if things get out of hand. Here’s how to prepare and keep the peace as everyone arrives for the holidays.