Well, it is that time of year again and everyone is coming to your house for the holidays!
You’ve cleaned the house.
Prepped the turkey.
Set the dinner table.
Scrubbed the last-minute grease off of the oven door.
And you’ve put all of your personal belongings away.
But, wait just a minute!
Are your special things safe from snooping family members?!
You know who I am talking about!
Perhaps it is Aunt Clara who excuses herself to the bathroom.
Only to find herself in your bedroom by accident!
Or your loopy mother-in-law who openly wanders around your house!
You find her looking through your linen closet just outside of the bedrooms!
In order to enjoy hosting the holidays, your need to be able to manage such family members!
And this list should help you to do just that!
1. Know Your Family
Do you know who the real snooper is?
Maybe you have noticed some personal items out of place after prior parties.
But maybe you never really knew who the secret snooper really was.
Sometimes, we are so busy hosting that we don’t realize that a family member has gone missing!
Remember, people who snoop tend to be sneaky.
Yes, I am speaking from experience.
Oh, me a snoop?!
No, no, no.
But I sure do have a family member who is one!
And I know exactly who it is!
Now make certain that you, too, know who that member is!
If you can’t figure it out, make a point to keep your eyes a little sharper on the guests at your next party.
Knowing who the real snoop is will give you some insight as to how to handle dealing with them.
2. Plan Your Approach
You’ve figured it out!
You know exactly who shuffled through your underwear drawer at the last gathering!
Or who was trying to break the password on your phone!
Now that you know, take that person’s personality into consideration.
Some people respond well when someone is straightforward and calls them out on things.
Other people need a more round about approach.
Say you have a snooping mother, but you know that she would become tearful if you called her out.
You may have to say something very subtle like:
“Hey mom, I noticed that a relative went through my closet. It is really disrespectful to me when someone does that.”
Or you may have to say:
“Hey mom, I noticed that you were sneaking around my room during the party. I love you very much, but I have to ask you not to do that.”
Maybe you have a snooping uncle whose personality is to just blow everything off!
Perhaps he would tell you that snooping around someone’s house is normal and to “walk it off” if you didn’t like it.
A family member like this may need a little more of a straightforward chat.
“This is my house, Uncle, and I would like you to respect my privacy. And if you can’t, you may need to ‘walk it off,’ yourself, right out my door.”
Sometimes our family members just need to learn some boundaries.
And, although it is no fun, you may be just the person who needs to finally be the one to do just that!
3. Set Boundaries Ahead of Time
If confrontation is just too much for you, set some boundaries ahead of time!
When you get on the phone to invite your family over, make certain to state the ground rules right then and there!
My children and I have to be extremely careful still because of Covid.
Some of my family members do not respect that.
They think that I am nuts for still putting us in masks and avoiding large crowds.
But because both of my children are immunocompromised, I have to do those things.
So, when I decided to have some family over for my son’s birthday, I had to have them follow through on some rules in order to keep my kids safe.
I gave each family member a call.
After the invite, I simply, but firmly, said:
“We’d love for you to stop by, but I do have some rules that I, kindly, ask that you follow in order to keep my children safe.”
I went on about how masks were required and that everyone was to sanitize their hands at the door.
Shoes were not to be worn in the house and to bring a sweater because the windows would be cracked open in order to let fresh air in.
After that, I did not think that anyone would show up.
Believe it or not, just about everyone came!
And the ones who came abided by my rules!
I did have a small group of family members who are just too far on the other side of the fence, so they did not show up.
I am certain that they were thinking that I was nuts when I informed them of the rules!
But I didn’t care.
The important part was that I was keeping my kids safe while trying to give them some sense of normalcy.
Your House, Your Rules!
If you only want everyone confined to certain areas of your house to prevent snooping, make that clear in your initial invite!
You can say something like:
“Everyone is welcome in my home, but if you see a closed door, I ask that you respect that.”
Or you can say:
“Everyone is welcome in my home, but we will be gathering in the kitchen and the living room areas only.”
You can even try:
“Everyone is welcome in my home, but we do have some curious folks in our family, so I am asking everyone to remain in the kitchen and living room for the party.”
If someone does not want to come to your gathering because of your rules, too bad for them!
They are the ones missing out on grandma’s homemade pumpkin pie and Aunt Suzie’s potato casserole – not you!
If you’d like to read a little more about setting boundaries with family, click here!
4. Set a Gracious Alarm
If all of the above is just too much for you to say to any of the members of your family, you can set a subtle alarm.
Pick which rooms you do not want anyone entering.
Then grab a set of jingle bells!
(Hey, jingle bells are appropriate for the season, right? No one will question that!)
Place a set of bells on the inside doorknob of each room.
That way, when that sneaky family member opens the door, they won’t suspect the bells to sound!
But you will hear them!
Then you can excuse yourself from the party and go find the member who is snooping!
You can then, very kindly, bring them right back to the party.
5. Assign a Subtle Bodyguard
Lastly, if none of the above seem to fit your comfort, you can assign a family member to be a subtle bodyguard!
The bodyguard’s assignment would be to keep the snooping family member entertained so that there is little desire to snoop in the first place!
If you have a child who is a little older, you can ask your child to keep your sneaky cousin, Kristin, company during the party.
You don’t have to come out and tell your child that it is because Cousin Kristin snoops around the house!
You can remind your child of how Cousin Kristin enjoys seeing his new toys and assign your child to spending time with Cousin Kristin that way.
Or you can have your partner keep a close eye on Cousin Kristin.
If she starts to wander, he can go over and start up a conversation with her and redirect her back to the gathering.
Assigning someone to keep an eye on your sneaky snooper means that you can relax a little more and worry a little less!
You’ve Got Snoopers Under Control!
In your house, no one is going to invade your privacy!
Not even your dotting Aunt May!
You can maintain control of your holiday party by implementing the above tricks in order to keep snooping family members from snooping!
Knowing your family members and coming up with a plan is imperative!
You can simply confront members right away!
Or you can set some subtle boundaries.
Trying an alarm on doorways to privacy may also help.
Or assigning bodyguards to the sneaky family member can be great in these situations.
Either way, don’t let a snooping person be something else that you have to worry about when you are trying to enjoy the rest of your family!
And, for goodness sakes…
Don’t let that snooping family member be the reason that you don’t get to finish that piece of pumpkin pie with the extra whipped cream!
That would just be a nightmare!
Happy holidays, folks!
Have you ever had to deal with a snooping family member?
If so, feel free to share in the comment section below!
Mama Morgan is a single parent by day and a writer by night! She is raising two, young children with special needs during a global pandemic. She aims to give other parents confidence, hope, and a practical, down-to-earth reading adventure through her own experiences. While Morgan is heavily focused on caring for her little ones, she is also dedicated to helping others and making the world a better place. Mama’s Grilled Cheese is just her delicacy!