- "What did we do last year?"
- "Who's turn is it this year?"
- "Are we giving presents?"
- "Did we give presents last year?" Well, if you can't remember, it can't have been a memorable occasion so why bother this year?
- "What are we going to eat?"
- "Not cold barbeque chickens again? It's always cold chickens."
- "Will there be fruit mince pies?"
- "It will be so hot."
Same questions, same discussion.
Please don't get me wrong. I don't mean to hijack Christmas or dictate what our celebrations will be. There should be no need to do that to ensure that the festive season is relaxing and enjoyable.
Use principles of customer service to negotiate a great Christmas for all.
Be willing to explain what you want this Christmas.
- Have you had enough of the stinky hot barbecues at the beach? Be willing to admit it.
- If you can't face another cold barbecue chicken with salad, be willing to admit it.
- Do you want a quiet Xmas eve at home rather than going to Auntie Agnes' for roast turkey? Be willing to admit it.
- Don't see the value in pressies for all, especially those you haven't seen since last year's turkey dinner? Be willing to admit it.
It is all very well to provide your list of "don't likes" but it won't make you popular with your family and friends. You will be tainted as a whinger and may not get invited to anything!
Instead, think up some interesting and novel alternatives that you would like and that you think others will also like. Then all you have to do is sell one to them! Simple.
- Sue and Jack hate to cook and you are scared you will die of food poisoning after going to their house. Suggest a restaurant meal. Pick a couple of 'nice' places that they might like to go and offer to make the booking.
- Alex never stops talking about himself. Can't deal with that at Xmas? Then what about a trip to the movies. That will keep him quiet.
- Oh, the cold chickens! Offer to provide the meat. Do something delicious and different and you will have the gig every Xmas.
- Too many screaming children? Hot dogs and a pool party will keep them happy. Remember to keep an eye on them.
Listen to their Needs
There is no good in coming up with a bright scheme that others can't participate in.
Everyone has commitments- work, children, friends, other family members.
Don't put others in the situation where they are forced to decide between your amazing and maybe outrageous, unconventional Xmas fun and having turkey with Auntie Agnes.
Do What you Say
- Did you agree to cook the Xmas pudding?
- Is it your job to collect menus from restaurants?
- Was it your idea to find party games for the children?
Then do it! If you don't, you won't have any bargaining power next year.
Next week, we talk about treating yourself well during the festive season.