Worry: All my family in one room? The conversation’s going to take a turn for the worst
Solve it: If you can sense the conversation heading towards a sore point – perhaps something that happened last Christmas – or towards the one-upmanship that can so often take place in a conversation between family members, just steer it away. To stop it coming across as rude, acknowledge the last comment made with a sincere “that’s interesting” or “oh, what a shame” before quickly moving things on to a friendlier topic. The high quality of the party food or the abundance of drink available are always well-received topics, and should quickly cheer things up.
Worry: The guests don’t have much in common; what if there are awkward silences?
Solve it: One option offered by that handy resource wikiHow is to aim to get a laugh to fill any conversational gaps by simply saying “awkward” in a silly voice. While this may work a treat around friends, your granddad may not quite get it. We think the best way to avoid these silences is to make sure that you pay adequate attention when your party companions talk to you. If you really listen to their comments, you should be able to keep the conversation going by picking out things to ask them about. Remember, people love talking about themselves. If you’re really worried, think up a few conversation-starters in advance. Current events are always good, but keep topics light-hearted.
Worry: I’m hosting and I’m worried there won’t be a festive atmosphere
Solve it: A good, Christmassy playlist can make all the difference, so prepare one in advance and turn it up loud enough to get that festive feeling started, but not so loud it makes it impossible to chat.
Worry: My guests will hate the food
Solve it: To quiet your worries, do as much of the prep as possible beforehand – perhaps even the day before while you’re feeling calm. This should minimise the likelihood of things going wrong when your guests are there. If you’re worried your food won’t be to your guests’ tastes, the best thing to do is to ask them in advance. This approach will not only save you time and money, it’ll make guests feel as though you’ve really gone that extra mile to make it special for them.