7 Tips For Surviving The Holidays With HIS Family

Tips for Surviving the Holidays with HIS Family

by Meagan McCrary

Being invited home for the holidays by your beau is a major step in a relationship. But meeting the fam for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you’re staying with them. Follow these seemingly-obvious-but-too-often-forgotten guidelines for surviving the holidays with your boyfriend’s family. After all, there could be a lot more to come.

Do: Bring something.
Don’t: Bring your mom’s famous turkey stuffing.

Everyone knows that it’s polite to bring an offering when you’re a dinner guest, but stick to the classics: wine, bread, cheese, flowers, even dessert. While you might have the best green bean casserole recipe on the market, best not to step on anyone’s toes. Holiday dinners take a lot of planning, and chances are, whoever’s cooking (presumably your boyfriend’s mom) has been in charge of the meal for years––let her handle the main course.

Do: Dress up.
Don’t: Go all glam.

Even if your boyfriend claims that dinner will be casual, definitely step up your appearance from the typical leggings and Uggs. A pair of skinny jeans and a nice sweater will suffice, and if you’re feeling the need to done a dress or skirt, trendy tights complete any holiday outfit. On the flip side, you don’t want to show up with your hair blown out big, tons of make-up and stilettos the first time you meet his entire family. Wear something you’ll be comfortable sitting around in, and remember that if he has brothers, chances are they’ll take to the outdoors and you might want to join them.

Do: Spend time with great auntie Bertha.
Don’t: Encourage sleazy uncle Joe.

If you really want to make a good impression, chat it up good old grandpa. At almost every family gathering there’s a token senior who doesn’t hear or get around so well. You’ll find him or her pretty much stationary all afternoon and evening, so when you notice no one’s talking to grandma, head on over and pull up a seat. But steer clear of the family sleaze ball. Even if you can handle his underhanded advances, you don’t want to encourage any offensive behavior.

Do: Brush up on the sports page.
Don’t: Discuss politics, religion or money.

Sports fan or not, it wouldn’t hurt to read through the sports section so you at least know what’s going on and can keep up when the conversation inevitably turns to sports. Impressing pops isn’t a bad idea either. However, if said conversation turns to the economic downfall of our country, you’re best bet is to sit there and look pretty. While you may be able to add an intelligent viewpoint, discussing politics, religion or money is not something you should attempt at your first family gathering.

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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.