DEAR ABBY: The holidays are coming, and this year it's my turn to host Thanksgiving. I'm a full-time working mom with two active children, and I also volunteer. No matter how hard I will work at cleaning my house before the relatives come, I know there'll be areas that aren't spotless. There's just not enough time in the schedule.
I have relatives who will make sure to point out what needs to be done, or critique how I have arranged my furniture, or what I did or didn't prepare for the meal. How do I graciously handle these comments? I want to be an example to my children on how to be a gracious hostess, even when dealing with critical or rude comments. -- UNDER PRESSURE IN OHIO
DEAR UNDER PRESSURE: You would be amazed what a person can get away with if it's said with a warm smile. If someone criticizes your housekeeping, smile and say, "Oh, really? I must have missed it. The vacuum cleaner is in the closet. Be an angel and take care of it for me, will you?" The same goes for where you keep your duster.
If your relatives don't like what's on your menu, suggest sweetly that next time they come they bring something they will enjoy. It would be a lot more gracious than showing the person the door.