Do: Quietly excuse yourself.
Don’t: Weigh in on the argument.
Ah, the holidays. You never know who’s going to show up and who has a problem with who, so don’t be surprised if a little bickering or an all-out blowout takes place. If you happen to find yourself in the midst of a family feud, your best bet is to slip out the back door and go for a light walk in the fresh air. Even if your boyfriend starts taking sides or tries to pull you into the argument, it’s best for everyone if you just keep your opinions to yourself. Families fight and get over it—they don’t, however, forgive outsiders so easily.
Do: Offer to help with the dishes.
Don’t: Try to make your boyfriend help.
After the meal, typically it’s the women who head into the kitchen to tackle the dishes. The polite thing for you to do is join them. Trust me, every mother likes for her son’s possible future wife to offer help when it comes to the post-dinner cleanup. And while you may be right in thinking that your boyfriend should be willing to help his dear mother out in the kitchen, it’s not your place to set him straight; at least not when you’re in his family home.
Do: Send a thank you note.
Don’t: Make plans for next year.
Once home and recovered from the holidays, you must send a hand written thank you card to his family for having you. But keep it short and sweet. While you may have loved his family and totally hit it off with his mother, it’s not in your best interest, or in the interest of the relationship, for you to be making plans for next season. There’s no way to know where you and your beau will be at a year from now—take it one holiday at a time.