When entertaining relatives, one can go a bit batty. It is certainly understood that one should BYO Love, Attention, and Appreciation. (I read that, I shit you not, in "O" magazine. Sound advice.) Perhaps you are not eager to discuss the year's tensions, or future travel plans to family obligations (and not tropical getaways), or you just don't need to hear about little Johnny's overachievements yet again. I have the solution for you! Table games!
I've played many this season - in the guise of icebreakers for folks who don't know each other all that well, or in the spirit of convivial fun. One friend has an annual quiz....I found one here and combined some of the questions with this one here. I printed out a quiz that the head of the table will read out during brunch. We'll have children at our table this year (I think its time, and I'm eager to see how that works) so I've left in the easiest questions knowing they will get them.
Copying Lynn's icebreaker, I'll also ask everyone at my table about some faves and least faves of the holiday season. Fave ornament, least favorite Christmas song (religious and secular), fave gift to give, favorite Christmas beverage. I'll also ask each person to share a very favorite memory, hoping that my parents will share some of their childhood and memories of their parents and grandparents.
My children aren't crafty, but they do enjoy making placecards. We used a snowflake stamp, light blue paper, and glitter pens for ours. More creative types can read this article.
I'm looking forward to fun and festiveness around my table. Now, I'm going to go take a sleeping pill.