The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - With editor Robyn Willis robyn.willis@news.com.au

Make a spe­cial guest ap­pear­ance

We’re of­fi­cially into the Christ­mas sea­son in our house with the yearly rit­ual of putting up the tree al­ready done and dusted.

Some­how, we’ve man­aged to get off the hook for host­ing the fam­ily this time around but hav­ing put in the ef­fort and ex­pense this time last year, it’s given me a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the work in­volved.

As a re­sult, I’ll be try­ing to be the guest I’d like to see at my own ta­ble, if you fol­low, by ad­her­ing to a few rules.

For me, the first rule of be­ing a thought­ful Christ­mas guest is not to come empty-handed. And I don’t just mean bring­ing an empty stom­ach.

Be­cause when you’ve laid on the best you can af­ford to feed the fam­ily, it’s a lit­tle dis­heart­en­ing when guests turn up with not so much as a bot­tle of soft drink to add to the ta­ble.

Re­ally, it doesn’t mat­ter whether it’s a bread stick or three, a tub of ice cream or a bot­tle of cham­pagne (my per­sonal pref­er­ence), as long as you bring some­thing to share.

I’d also sug­gest fa­mil­iaris­ing your­self with the kitchen. While this is of­ten left to the ladies, there’s no spe­cial force field stop­ping the male mem­bers of the fam­ily en­ter­ing this space.

If you don’t have some­thing to pre­pare, of­fer to carve the roast or pack the dish­washer. Even clear­ing the ta­ble of plates at the end of each course (and clean­ing them of left­over food) will take a lit­tle of the load off the host.

Per­haps the most es­sen­tial thing to bring to the Christ­mas ta­ble though, is a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. Your host’s home may not be to your taste and you may not ap­prove of their DIY ef­forts but this is not the day to point that out, even if you are re­lated. Open­ing your home is an act of hos­pi­tal­ity and gen­eros­ity, so re­spond in kind. They’ve made an ef­fort, so you can too.

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