When you're hosting a family celebration it's easy to build up expectations, so that when things don't go to plan it can lead to disappointment, tension and frayed tempers.
To ensure your family event is as stress-free as possible, think about the following:
- Be realistic. Most families experience tensions at one time or another - real families don't act like the idealised families often portrayed on TV.
- Don't take on too much. Avoid inviting too many people or cooking too complicated a meal.
- Remember children get bored easily. It's not realistic to expect small children to sit through long dinners and adult conversations. Plan some activities for them.
- Ask for help if you need it. Don't be a martyr - see guests as extra pairs of hands and get them to help clear the table or entertain the children.
- Do something different. If previous routines have ended in disaster, try something new - go out for lunch instead of cooking, for example, or take a short holiday together on 'neutral' territory.
- Set a budget. Money's one of the biggest causes of conflict between couples, so discuss a budget in advance and stick to it.
- Remind yourself why you're celebrating. Sometimes the stress of organising a family occasion makes you forget the real reason you're getting together. Focus on the event, whether it's a birthday, anniversary or religious festival, and remember that even if it doesn't go well, it won't last forever and there will be other occasions.