Every year we read "Dear Amy" Abby whatever about the holiday stress. Today's was about guests complaining or critiquing house conditions, arrangement of furniture etc. etc. I'd like to share what I learned from DW. 1.You never go anywhere empty handed. This means you bring a gift for the hostess/host. Flowers make it personal and that's nice. Wine is not personal. 2. Ask "what can I bring?" The days of a stay at home moms are gone. Sometimes both parents are working so offer to bring deserts, or your best dish. Don't put it all on the host family to foot the bill. If you love them offer to come and help prepare things. Even if it means tidying up a bit. If no one offers ask, "could you bring, bread, rolls, desert, drinks, etc. etc?." 3. If you're single and looking for someone bring your best dish. Let everyone know what to expect if they are looking for someone. A hostess gift shows potential suiters that your a gracious and kind person. 4. For family who make rude comments? It is not okay. Just because it's your son or daughter, etc. etc. doesn't give you a pass to drop good manners. Treat everyone like you would treat a dignitary. Practice giving compliments if need be. Parents remember they're grown up now if you're visiting adult children. Their dreams are not yours. Encourage them don't tear them down. If their situation is better than you had, remember that's why you worked so hard. So they could. Children show your parents you appreciated your good life. Flowers for mom. Ask Dad to give the blessing. Even if you don't think it was so great growing up. 5. Offer to help clean up after the meal. This goes for men and women. When a woman works outside the home she is generally working two jobs. 6. Don't forget that stay at home moms and dads do have a job, just like you who work outside the home. Many time they're doing quite a bit more. Organizing and managing the household. 7. If you do work outside the home, offer to come home early and help get things set up. Wives be direct don't assume He knows what you want. "Please clean the bathroom", not "you can see what needs to be done". 8. Holiday time is not the time to "repaint" the entire house. God I hated when my mother would do this to us kids. 9.. If you have relatives that always ruin the holiday because of to much booze have a dry holiday. If someone says they won't come, tell them you will miss them and hope their holiday is nice. You are not obligated to put up with abusive relatives. Finally treat everyone the way you want to be treated or wish you'd been treated if you've grown up in a dysfunctional family such as mine. I love you all and hope everyone of us survives with our sanity and bodies intact. Rancher, to old for comfort, Hicks.