Well, it's Christmas already and time to think about how best to utilise the time off work to get a spot of wargaming in, ideally without bringing on a wintry state of affairs domestically.
Here are my tips.
1) Be honest. Tell the missus what the plans are, but there's no need to be too specific. Don't go into detail about scenario matters, scale, your emotional state or what prep you need to do. "6mm...M60A1s...Fulda Gap...really excited" is too much information; "Bruce's...Osaka...Saturday...pizza" ought to do it.
2) Give adequate warning. "Morning dear, three of the chaps are coming over for a game in an hour or so. You'll want to go to your mum's with the kids for the day. We should be done around 7ish. Thanks!" might have just about been all right for granddad, but it is unlikely to be all right for me.
3) Maintain wiggle room. Try and keep a couple of days as options in case there are unforeseen difficulties, parties to attend, family outings, unexpected TV character sightings, etc. There are few more powerful words in the English language than "oh, would Friday suit you better then honey?"
4) Quid pro Quo. Be prepared to do something in return. My wife often has various reunion dinners to go to at this time of year. If I offer to look after the kids while she lets her hair down she will gaze at me lovingly. I will enjoy that as long as I can before mentioning the gaming plans, but not too long (see point 2).
5) If there are dark clouds in the living room, subtly contrast the wargaming life with the drinking life. Mention how long it's been since you've done an all-nighter with the lads. Chuckle about the good old days and that time you nearly got arrested. Wonder aloud where the best bars are, and where you might have put notorious-booze-hound-mate-numero-uno's phone number. Several days later, again raise the subject of going out with the lads. When you see her clutch at the table and shiver, sweetly say there is talk about going round to Murray's for a wargame, and would that be all right with her? The relief will be so palpable you might even be able to get an extra hour or two's grace to squeeze in a quiet beer!
6) Be cool. If there are some disagreements over priorities, give a little ground. Agree; suggest some ways that you can be accommodating for the good of all, and when you find an opening, exploit it ruthlessly!
There you are then, my top six tips. I cannot guarantee that these will work for anyone other than me - and can barely guarantee them then - but you never know, they might be worth a shot!
Cheers, and happy holidays to you all!