How do you keep the peace at joint family gatherings?

Our families are pretty different — liberal vs republican, generational differences, religious vs atheist — and once the drinks start flowing, it's hard to manage the interactions. The whole thing makes me super anxious, and I don't even want to have a birthday party for our kid because it will mean bringing the families together.

How do you manage different families? How do you keep the peace and still enjoy yourself at joint gatherings?

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Are there any magical alternatives to a baby showers?

I am knocked up for the first time, and my friends are all asking when they can throw me a baby shower. The thing is, I'm excited about my growing foetus, but I really, really hate baby showers. Do you have any magical alternatives to a baby shower that would allow my friends to celebrate, but wouldn't have the term "baby shower" in the title?

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What's the etiquette on taking a baby to an all ages show?

The types of show I'm used to attending are generally held in much smaller indoor venues, like bars and church basements. So far as the kid is concerned, as long as he's riding in the baby carrier with ear muffs on, I think he'll do just fine. I'm more worried that we'd be crossing some social line with the other concert goers…