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The holidays are wonderful, but getting back together with all your family can, unfortunately, cause some unwanted tension. To avoid getting wrapped up in garlands and light up like a Christmas tree, etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau stopped by Your Morning to offer solutions so your family encounters may be merry and bright.

IF A FAMILY MEMBER ASKS INDISCREET QUESTIONS

  • Reply with empathy and a positive attitude.
    “How much money do you make? “I’m doing quite well thank you, but I’m always open to suggestions. Do you have any ideas for me?”
  • Respond with humour.
    “How old are you?” “Today I feel 20!”
  • Answer with a question in return
    “When will you have children?” “Hmmm, why do you ask?
  • Switch to another topic of conversation
    “Do you have a girlfriend?” “What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?”

Generally, when you feel uneasy about answering a question, use this sentence: “I am a pretty private person and I prefer to keep that kind of information to myself.”

IF YOUR GUESTS WON’T LEAVE

Gradually change the environment so they know it’s time to go. Turn the music down, then off, and bring the lights up. Suggest a “last round of coffees”, offer to book an Uber or taxi for them, ask what they’re doing tomorrow and then talk about what you have planned / need to do.

IF YOUR FAMILY MEMBER BRINGS AN UNEXPECTED GUEST

Add a place setting and let your close family know that portions are to be reduced. If you are planning a large gathering add an extra place. If no extra guests show up, state that it is to honour loved ones that have passed.

IF A FAMILY MEMBER SENDS MULTIPLE MESSAGES DAILY

In this new age of communication, this is a common problem. A lot of people fire off messages about how excited they are about Christmas / what to eat and drink / who is going / how long they can stay. Ghosting is convenient but rarely appropriate and most people don’t like it and can get the wrong message. The key is knowing how to sign off or say “still busy at work!” give them a time when you can check back in and message them then. People just like you to be clear so if you’re not going to reply for a while, say so!

Interested in reading more of Julie’s tips? Check out her website here!

Proper travel etiquette for a picture-perfect vacation