Whether you cheerfully volunteered or were volunteered by Grandma, it’s your turn to host the big family holiday feast. That new home you just purchased or the kitchen you just renovated has you in the holiday spirit, so you think you’re more than fine having the family over for one festive night.
You begin pondering decorations and recipes with your spouse when Grandma calls (and tapping “ignore” is NEVER allowed when you see Grandma’s picture on the cell). Hoping for good tidings from Grandma, you answer and she says “Hold on sweetie, your uncle wants to talk to you.” You immediately understand what is happening. The one “loved” one you hoped to only have to tolerate for that one festive night will be in town for several days and Grandma may or may not have mentioned that you have plenty of room for him to stay. Yes, Grandma has set you up.
You can’t say you’ll be out of town or that your whole family has pink eye since you are hosting the family dinner. So, if that meddling in-law, nosey aunt, or obnoxious uncle places first dibs on staying with you for the holidays, blog 6 of our 12 Days of Christmas series can help. Here are 5 ways to get your annoying relatives to stay at the hotel instead.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
So when Uncle Obnoxious informs you (without asking) that he will be staying with you for the holidays, why not inform him that Marmaduke, the family’s pet Great Dane, prefers the left side of the full-size bed they will be sharing. As you explain to your uncle how he will need to walk Marmaduke promptly at 3 am every morning in the blistering cold, you know because of all the bedwetting, the protests will likely ensue.
If he’s not willing to share a space with a 160-pound canine, you can kindly offer him a preferably torn-up, musty, uncomfortable sofa stored in the basement. Better yet, suggest that he may be more comfortable at the local 4-star hotel you are reserving for him as you speak. No Great Dane to room with that annoying relative? A destructive cat, a chatty parakeet, or a python (the bigger the better) will do.
The Enemy of My Enemy
What if you have no pets or discover your obnoxious uncle is an avid pet lover who has no problem sharing a room with your four-legged kid? The next best move is from ‘the enemy of my enemy’ playbook. Maybe Uncle Obnoxious has an ex-wife he despises or a cousin he owes a sleigh-load of money to.
Whoever the nemesis of your nemesis is, casually drop the news that you will also be inviting that person to stay for the holidays. Is staying with you worth the stress of trying to avoid Cousin Loanshark for those 3 or 4 days when he could be relaxing it up in a cozy microfiber bathrobe at a hotel? Probably not.
Now Accepting Reservations
You’re kidding?! Your uncle has paid his $500 debt to Cousin Loanshark and is now planning to travel with him to your home? Uncle Obnoxious is more resolute than ever about lounging on your sectional, instructing you how to properly roast those chestnuts in your lovely new fireplace and this doesn’t bode well for your family. It’s time to get aggressive; it’s time to ask your uncle to submit a reservation request.
Yep, you’re going to be the first person in the history of mankind to charge a family member a daily rate to stay with you for the holidays. You have no choice. Room & board, shuttle service, booking fees, and wi-fi must all be invoiced. When you start to feel bad, just think about the criticism he will dole out, the doors he will not knock on before entering, and the private family business he will joyfully disclose to the world.
It Can’t Hurt to Ask
So Uncle Obnoxious will be offended you asked him to pay and since he just paid back Cousin Loanshark, he wouldn’t have the money anyway. It doesn’t matter because even if you could summon the gumption to attempt to bill him, Grandma is not going to go for it. This plan is out the window.
Perhaps it is time to employ the most straight-forward, uncomplicated strategy and ask Uncle Obnoxious, in the nicest way possible, to stay in a hotel. But let’s be real: if you were going to simply ask, it would have been the first thing you did. Moving on.
Outside of selling your home before the holidays, your only option left may be to come out of the pocket and pay for Uncle Obnoxious to stay in a nice hotel. Yes, this will feel like rewarding Marmaduke with a succulent rib eye for wetting the bed, but the stress you and your family will avoid will be well worth it. Your instinct will be to choose the worst, run-down, flea-bitten, motel in the bad part of town, but remember the objective is to get him to want to stay in a hotel and not at your home.
Pull out that credit card, reserve a hotel suite no one would refuse, and let your uncle know that your Christmas gift to him is an all-expense-paid stay at the best hotel resort in town. If your uncle is not blatantly out to make you miserable, he will accept and your mission to have a drama-free holiday should now be accomplished.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
At this point, if your uncle defiantly declares that he and his children would rather stay at your house, you must concede to the fact that Cousin Loanshark, Uncle Obnoxious, and now his bad little kids ARE all staying at your house. Your annoying relatives have bested you and all of your tactics to get them hankering for a hotel stay have failed.
Many would say that since the holiday season is a time for celebration, fellowship, giving, reflection, and family, you should grin and bear it to make the best of an unwanted situation.
A better idea would be to give Uncle Obnoxious the key to the house when he gets into town, grab your suitcase, and head straight for that hotel suite with you and yours. Grandma and Marmaduke need not fret–you’ll be home to host the holiday dinner–but until then, it’s maid service, spa treatments, 500 thread-count sheets, first-rate room service and peace on earth.
If you plan on indulging in festive foods this holiday season, our seventh blog has 5 healthy holiday food substitutes when eating out.