Home Buying Help – Money Management Tools – Home Decorating Ideas – Free Recipes

Your Holiday Entertaining Survival Guide

Whether you’re hosting your family, his clan or (gulp!) both of them, use our handy primer for pulling off a delicious, stress-free fete -- from cocktails to cleanup.

Home Buying Help – Money Management Tools – Home Decorating Ideas – Free Recipes

next >

1 of 6

Set a Chic Table

Eye candy: Pump up plain white china with a bold salad/dessert plate.
Kate Spade Gwinnett Lane Turquoise 9-inch plate, $20, Macys.com

Elbow alert! Your place settings should be at least one plate-width away from each other.

1. Fold napkin in half lengthwise.
2. Fold the top half down 2 inches; repeat once more.
3. Fold each side under 2 inches. Repeat twice more so you have a neat rectangle. Voilà!

Help! How do I handle my crazy family at the table?
-Place cards are key! You can put the most difficult person near yourself or your husband so one of you can monitor them.

-Raise convo topics such as current events, movies and hobbies. Try steering clear of politics (unless you know that everyone’s on the same page), war, death, gossip and health probs. Remember—they’re relatives, not pals; your political rant or saucy celeb rumor may fall on deaf (or angry!) ears.

-If two in-laws start squabbling, switch seats with one of them (you can say that as the host, you want to sit with everyone at some point during the meal).

See the next survival tip.

Photo: Antonis Achilleos

See More: Dinner , Entertaining , Holiday