- Pick a date to gather all of your loved ones together while summer is still here. Every weekend will already have several events on the date so simply throw a dart at your wall calendar.
- Make a list of food and drinks that caters for everyone’s needs. Do this by spending hours agonising over an Excel spreadsheet that acts as a complex Venn diagram intersecting each individual’s allergies and preferences. Allow yourself to sink into a brief emotional breakdown. Once this is complete, throw your laptop out the window and buy a 24-pack of homebrand sausages.
- The day is here, hooray! Ensure all guests know they’re at a fun social gathering by placing a colourful cloth on the outdoor table. Make sure it is a cheap, disposable number that smells like toxic paint and will probably end up in the stomach of an endangered sea creature.
- Ding dong! (Do not be frightened; that is your doorbell.) Make everyone feel welcome by greeting them with “PLEASE TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES BEFORE COMING IN. WE’VE JUST HAD THE CARPET STEAMED.”
- It is polite to acknowledge the guests who brought a plate. This can be achieved one of two ways: by making a "joke" to those who you feel did this as an insult to your catering abilities (“I guess my salad isn’t up to your standards, ha HA!”) or passive-aggressively commenting on store-bought snacks (“Oh good, this small packet of Twisties won’t take up too much space on the table, thank you ever so much.”)
- Set up a fun game of cricket for everyone to play while the sausages burn on the barbecue. Make sure at least two family members take the game far too seriously and end up in a physical fight.
- Have a baby or two who is too young to be hit in the face with a cricket ball? No matter! Remember that old rabbit hutch you found on the side of the road last year? Voila -- instant play pen!
- Once the sausages are sufficiently charred, begin self-flagellating when you realise you forgot to put the onions on. (“What an idiot, I can’t believe I did this, this is why Jason left me”, etc -- get creative!) Throw the onions on the grill dramatically while your baby cousin feeds chocolate to the dog.
- Still weeping, shout at everyone to sit at the table, lunch is ready. Serve up your burnt sausages and undercooked onion delight; wipe away your tears; and, while everyone politely munches, remember to ask “Why don’t we do this more often?”
Read more of Deirdre Fidge's handy summer holiday hacks here.