It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. It is the age of eggnog and presents, it is the age of political conversations that make you want to bang your head on the table. It is the season of holiday lights, it is the season of dark, empty wallets.
You get where we’re going with this. The holidays are here, it’s time to party!
There’s a lot that goes into hosting holiday events. Whether it’s the first time you’re hanging with someone in a social situation (like a coworker) or the millionth time arguing with the same relatives about the president, it can all be a bit of a minefield to navigate. Don’t get us wrong, this is one of our favorite times of year — but it’s also one of the most drama-filled.
If you’re hosting any kind of event over the next two weeks, there’s a very good chance you’ll encounter a terrible guest. But you don’t have to let them ruin the party. We’re here to give you some tips on how to handle any “bad guest” situation that might come up, so that you can still have the happiest of holidays.
Bad Guest #1 — The Drunk
Probably the most common of the bad party guests, this friend or loved one has dipped a little too heavily into that Christmas cheer and are now, very much in danger of spreading that cheer all over your white couch.
How to deal:
First, you need to prevent these situations. Make sure you have lots of non-alcoholic drinks at every event. Bring around water bottles, offer La Croix, and if someone seems like they might have already had a few, don’t offer them more drinks. Also, make sure you have some hearty appetizers on hand. Holiday parties often involve people arriving early (and meals not being served for a while), so the easier you make it for guests to snack while having their cocktails the better.
If you do find yourself with a drunk uncle or tipsy bff, there are a few things you can do:
- If this is someone you’re pretty close to, be direct. Intoxicated people don’t take subtle, social cues easily. Pull them aside or ask for help in the kitchen (definitely don’t call them out in front of others) and then tell them the truth. “Hey friend, why don’t you have a water or coffee in between drinks, it seems like the wine is hitting you a little.”
- If this is someone you don’t know well, pass out water bottles to the people they are standing nearby, so it seems less obvious. “We should all be hydrating or we’re going to feel terrible in the morning!” you can say cheerfully. “Have you eaten yet, you have to try my recipe for banana bread.” Steer them toward food, water, and perhaps a seat.
- Designate another friend or relative to be their buddy. As the host, you have a lot on your plate, and it can ruin your night to have to babysit. Grab a trusted friend and ask them to take over. “Jamie seems like she’s had too much to drink, can you make sure she just drinks water from here on out and gets home safely?” — is a very valid favor to ask in this situation.
- If none of this works, tell them it’s time to go home. It might feel weird, but it’s best for everyone. Don’t ask them if they’d like to go home — which will give them more opportunity to argue — kindly tell them you’re going to help them get home and make it seem like you’re doing them a favor. “I love you, but it seems like you’re tired, I’m going to call you a car.”
Yes, this drunk friend or family member may be annoyed or angry in the moment, but don’t try to argue with them. And (it probably goes without saying), don’t let them drive. Just get them in a car that you either call or have a friend take them. Most likely, the drunk attendee will thank you later.