There is nothing quite like Christmas with the gifts, snow, decorations, food and visitors accumulating into a great festive atmosphere. You clean up your home in preparation to welcome the visitors, get your finest cutlery out of their slumber and light up the Christmas tree with flashing beacons. But… there is still an element of anxiety that lingers in your stomach. Why? Because your in-laws are coming!
Of course, not everyone experiences criticism and scrutiny from their in-laws but, in any case you will want to avoid any chance of bickering. Hence, along with decorating the home with little shining disco balls you will need to make it in-law proof! Remember that sweater your mother-in-law bought you last Christmas and found a place in the depths of your wardrobe? The time has come to dig it out.
So, today we decided to make your Christmas an uneventful affair by helping you in-law proof your home!
One of the oldest tricks in the book, when you want to impress in-laws and avoid their bone-biting stares, is to set up an array of framed pictures that include them. Perhaps some photos from your wedding that flattered your mother-in law or from a trip you might have taken together.
By making them feel remembered, even in the timeless capture of a photo, you will win extra points. Since you are fixing up the photos, you might want to hide the memorabilia of drunken glories! Christmas is a family period after all.
Having a spotless house is essential for in-law proofing. Your instincts might tell you to go for the “fake cleaning” and pile up the clutter in one room. But, as is usually the case, your in-laws get a free access pass to all of your home by default so there is a grave chance they'll stumble upon the shame.
Go for a genuine deep clean up! Get rid of the dust, vacuum the carpets, mop the tiles and polish the furniture. Your living room will become an homage to the spirit of Christmas, with a tree wearing its colourful balls, gifts lying by its feet and stockings hanging from the fireplace. But your Christmas décor wouldn't be so dazzling if it's covered in cobwebs! Embrace the old idiom that cleanliness is next to godliness and your in-laws will have little to say.
After you have thoroughly cleaned your home consider putting out fresh flowers. Did you know that studies have shown flowers in the home increase happiness, reduce depression and anxiety whilst tightening the emotional bond between family and friends?
That should be music to your ears. With a few vases holding colourful bunches of flowers, the atmosphere on the Christmas table will become more relaxing. If you want to go the extra mile find out the favourite flowers of your in-laws and put them on display. That will awake happy memories for them and, let’s be honest, if they have a smile on their face so will you!
A lot of parents wish to see their offspring, even in adulthood, as still being a 12 year old child. While they know their precious one gets up to things they won't like, being reminded of it will do you no good.
Hence, go into your bedroom and find a good hiding place for all the things your in-laws shouldn't see. It’s time for them to go undercover. And be careful with their secret spot; if you can recall your teenager years, parents are usually very efficient in finding things they shouldn't!
When it comes to alcohol and your fine selection of cocktail mixers, consider limiting it to bare necessities. That will of course depend on your in-laws and how much they crave a stirred vodka Martini but you don't want to waste the good stuff and also look like you possibly attend AA meetings on Tuesday evenings. Perhaps think about stashing the 32 year old malt in the same spot as your naughty paraphernalia.
A nice touch in your alcohol cabinet will be a good wine selection. Wine usually sends a message of a sophistication and will give the impression you're a mature drinker with refined taste.
Parents will always have something to say about their child's eating habits. When they open the fridge or the cabinets and find them stuffed with take-out leftovers and expired tins, naturally, they will demand a visit to the nearest supermarket to remedy the situation.
Therefore you have a choice: wait for your in-laws to fill the fridge and try to avoid their condescending stares or be a step ahead and load the fridge sensibly of your own accord. Fill it with nature’s goodies, fresh fruit and veg and keep a couple of cooking books close by.
For extra points you could even prepare a large fruit bowl for their arrival, thus illustrating your excellent eating habits!
Finally, there is a good chance the gifts from your in-laws don’t quite match your particular taste. Unfortunately, that’s not a reason to show them you are not appreciative of their efforts despite that awful jumper being long forgotten for the last 12 months. It’s time to get it out. Or hang that painting you hate above the fireplace, albeit temporarily.
You are most likely going to see your in-laws very sporadically and so, why not keep their spirits high during the Christmas holidays by showing their time and money spent on a gift wasn't wasted? Even though you might consider it a terrible gift, they probably don't.
The visit from your in-laws over the festive period could be a disaster or it could be great. Think positive! There is a fine line between the two and, depending on what actions you take prior to their arrival, the scale will tip one way or the other. If you make an effort to please your in-laws the bickering you dread might be avoided and that would be the greatest Christmas gift of all!
Speaking of gifts, you might like to check out: Awesome Christmas Gifts For Grown Up Kids.