I'm hosting my family’s Christmas dinner for the first time. How is this not going to be a disaster?


The first rule of The Christmas Host Club is: embrace the oncoming disaster. A holiday dinner without a familial blowup or a gas fire or an uncle trying to get you to invest in a direct marketing scheme isn’t a holiday dinner at all.

That being said, you don’t want to turn your house into an actual war zone, so make sure to purchase a surfeit of wine. This might sound nuts, but I usually get a bottle per person. Why? It’s a long night, and people lie to themselves about how much they’re going to drink. A good selection is crucial, and slanting it in the direction of a 30/70 white/red split is advisable, as many guests—especially some men—will think red is the only thing to pair with a heavy meal. They’re wrong, but again, this is not the time to start new conflicts. For those open to it, a fresh Italian white—Modello’s Delle Venezie Bianco, for example—will work well for the starters. And then you can get into the Della Venezie Rosso, an austere red,  for the meat courses. Turkeys pair well with red wines, as it’s a rich bird. So don’t sweat it! You’ll be doing plenty of that after eating a 9000-calorie meal. 


Modello’s advice columnist Kathryn Borel is the author of Corked: A Memoir