The holiday season is closing in and anyone responsible for hosting a family gathering may already be drawing up disaster plans for the bad apple in the bunch.</br></br>You know what they say: You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. And, that’s cool. Family is beautiful, and family is important. In fact, that's why you have to make a plan, because disinviting a family member to a holiday dinner is far worse than anything they could do or say to earn it …</br></br>… for the most part. Here’s a look at five guests who really push the limits (and how to handle them).</br></br><strong>1. The Armchair Chef</strong></br></br>She will. not. get. out. of. your. kitchen. You’ve tried bribes. You’ve tried compliments. You’ve even (sigh) tried taking her advice, but yet she continues to hover – parsing your pinches and correcting your cook times.</br></br>All the while, she’s telling you how she came about her vast catalog of cooking knowledge. In this way, she politely but persistently marginalizes any experience you may have gained by feeding your own family and hosting countless holiday dinners.</br></br>Take a deep breath. You are the calm center. We’re just getting warmed up.</br></br><strong>2. The TV Hog</strong></br></br>This old-timer refers to the remote as “the clicker” and he guards it like Gollum guards his “precious”. He may even look a little like Gollum; bug-eyed and cagey from watching way too much TV in the dark.</br></br>He means no harm and, for the most part, he causes no harm. But, he monopolizes the TV and cackles manically at the thought of giving up control. He will not bend. He will not break. He may even insist he take his meal in the <a title="Recliners" href="http://www.atgstores.com/furniture/living-room-furniture/living-room-chairs/recliners/" target="_blank">recliner</a> because, dag nab it, <em>the game is on</em>.</br></br>And, you will let him – because he’s a man-child and it’s just easier.</br></br><strong>3. The Political Debater</strong></br></br>This is just an awful slice of American pie right here; no two ways about it. Everyone has political opinions – even if we think we don’t – but thankfully most of us know when to keep them to ourselves.</br></br>Not this guy. He will gladly hold forth on the most divisive of subjects, jabbing his turkey leg at dissenters as he pushes his agenda forward. His game is not one of artful debate. He prefers to use a combination of polarized sound bites and brashness to command a bully pulpit.</br></br>Take comfort in the fact that your silence – and your tolerance – is his Achilles’ heel.</br></br><strong>4. The Indiscriminate Imbiber</strong></br></br>Far be it from anyone to bang the gavel on someone else’s beverage choices, but when it comes to family get-togethers most of us could probably agree that there is a limit. No one is saying what it is – just that there is one.</br></br>But, this person doesn’t know it and thinks snorkeling in the <a title="Punch Bowls" href="http://www.atgstores.com/cooking/cooking-dining/tableware/bowls/type/punch-bowls/" target="_blank">punch bowl</a> is just dandy. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes it’s campy and sometimes it's downright crazy, and the unpredictability of it is what makes it dicey.</br></br>Find your Happy Place in the face of this walking Happy Hour and let the good times roll.</br></br><strong>5. The Critic</strong></br></br>Lo and behold, the human that hates everything. She hates the <a title="Lighting " href="http://www.atgstores.com/lighting/?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">lighting</a>. She hates the <a title="Kitchen & Dining Furniture" href="http://www.atgstores.com/furniture/kitchen-dining-furniture/?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">seating arrangement</a>. She hates the potato salad. She hates the <em>spoon</em> in the potato salad. She hates it that no one else can understand and empathize with her all-consuming dislike of everyone and everything.</br></br>But, you invite her because she’s family – and somewhere deep down she gets it. She’ll never say it, but she needs you and it means the world to her that you’re there. We like to think that the holiday season is all about having a good time, but what it's really all about is this – loving everyone as much as we can no matter what, because while none of us are perfect we all need a little TLC this time of year.