How to Easily Hand Off Tasks to Guests who ask to “Help” over the Holidays!

We’re coming up on a few major holidays — full of festive parties and time with family and friends. Which, of course, brings up important questions from friends in the Kitchen Fellowship community.

Since I want to show you how to host your gatherings with ease this year, I’ll answer those questions below. I’ve also made a “Holiday Help: The Ultimate Printable List” for you. It’ll help you organize your parties and give you the ability to hand-off tasks easily when your family asks to help.

“How do you handle guests who come hours early to “help” with a party, especially if their help is more of an obstacle and makes you feel uncomfortable?”

There’s a good chance we all know an overbearing person or two.
The type that come into our homes, rearrange our furniture, tweak our recipes, and nit-pick our preparations. Sometimes they’re friends that we can’t really navigate away from, sometimes they’re family.

Some may have good intentions while others are just controlling. Either way, setting clear boundaries with them is necessary!

Helpful Ideas

If they have a habit of showing up a few hours early, tell them, “The party starts at 6pm, please come just a few minutes beforehand. I had so much time this week to get ready and we’re all set with preparations!” Let go of any guilt that arises.

You may have to set this boundary several times. If they ignore the message and show up early yet again, as hard as it may be, I think it’s okay to firmly (but kindly) tell them, “Oh the party starts at 6pm. Please come back then.”

If this person is closer [or related to] someone in your family, it’s really good if they set boundaries with the overbearing guest so you’re not playing the middle-person.

Consider the bigger picture. People who want to control things often don’t have much going on in their own lives and may not be very happy with who they are.

If they absolutely have to help (because the nature of your relationship, say they’re a cousin from out of town who’s staying with you over Christmas break) send them out of the house to do some prep work. Maybe they can take your dog for a walk to calm him down before the party or pick up supplies from downtown while you spend your time in the kitchen.

“What kind of stuff do you let people help with when they ask? How do you organize your party to-dos?”

Many of us have lovely family members and friends who are more than happy to lend a hand during a gathering or their extended stay over the holidays.

Sometimes that help can become more of a job than a joy. It’s because we’re pushed into the role of director.

When the family member has questions about the meal prep they ask you things like, “Where do you keep the sugar again? And the salt? Do you have any butterscotch chips?” All the while you’re trying to complete 18 other thing to be ‘party-ready’. You’re forced to stop what you’re doing, grab the sugar, lose your train of thought, and then try and remember what you were working on before.

Helpful Idea

I’m made a “Holiday Help: The Ultimate Printable List” for you. It’ll help you organize your parties and give you the ability to hand-off tasks easily when your family asks to help. Feel free to print all of the pages or only the ones you’ll use. I’ve created blank lists in the following areas that you can customize to fit your needs:

  • Meals
  • Groceries
  • Errands
  • Cleaning/To-Dos Around the House
  • Decorations/Fun Activities
  • Blank List
  • Printable, Easy to Decorate Place Cards

Click here to download “Holiday Help: The Ultimate Printable List”

And of course, if there’s anything I can do to help you make your holidays more meaningful and fellowship-rich, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!

4 comments… add one

  • Fiona November 16, 2014, 6:46 am

    I get so antsy when people come into my kitchen to help, one person in particular. I think it’s partly to do with the set up of our kitchen, I end up feeling trapped in the room. But it’s partly that one person. Whom I love, mostly! I really work hard to get everything done beforehand, so that I can sit down with them and chat, rather than feel uncomfortable in my own kitchen!

    • Alysa November 16, 2014, 3:06 pm

      Aw, I year ya Fiona! I do like your plan of prepping everything beforehand so you can just chat with this person instead. Is the chatting comfortable or do you feel a bit trapped then too?
      We have a galley kitchen, on the smaller side, and I find it a little hard to work with certain people in there too. Is there anything deeper underneath that trapped feeling? Thanks for sharing your comment. I’m sure there are others who can relate.

      What’s your family doing for Thanksgiving this year?

  • Lisa November 16, 2014, 7:59 pm

    This is a great idea! Thank you for sharing. I’ve pinned it to use it later :-)

    • Alysa November 17, 2014, 10:30 am

      Thank you, Lisa! Check back with me and let me know how the list/hand-offs went! :)

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