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Meet the Parents: Holiday Edition

So you’ve made the big decision this Christmas to spend the holidays with your boyfriend or girlfriend’s family. Maybe they live in your hometown, your school town, or maybe you’re traveling with them to somewhere completely new. Whether you’re spending your whole Christmas break with your significant other’s parents or just a few days, it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as you probably think it is.

You might have met their parents before, or this could be your first timing meeting them. They might have a huge, crazy family full of cousins, or it could be just their parents. Whatever the case, there’s some solid strategies you can use to make your holiday less stressful. After all, once we’re done finals, it’s supposed to be smooth sailing to fun, right?

If you’re traveling to their hometown, pack lightly – don’t be the girl that shows up with a ton of stuff. I personally love my Longchamps tote and Lululemon gym bag combination. Focus on packing the essentials: a few dressy shirts and a skirt or dress, and some more casual outfits. Ask your boyfriend or girlfriend what sort of activities you’ll be doing so you can be best prepared; if they love playing pond hockey, pack your skates. This will show their family that you’re enthusiastic about their traditions and looking to get involved. While you don’t want to over pack, make sure you don’t show up empty handed! Bring a small gift for the host family. Some good bets are nice chocolates, flowers, or (homemade) baked goods.

On the note of traditions, make sure you’re excited about theirs. Their family’s traditions will definitely be different than yours, but that’s no reason you can’t be just as psyched. Make sure that when you participate, you’re enthusiastic. People can be self-conscious about their family traditions, so being engaged will help make your boyfriend or girlfriend more comfortable. If this involves stepping out of your comfort zone, just take it in stride. If their family loves ice hockey and you can barely skate, give it your best effort, laugh at yourself when you fall over or miss the puck entirely. Their family will love you for trying your best and for being willing to try something new that means a lot to them.

Worried about hitting it off with their siblings or cousins? Ask your boyfriend or girlfriend for some background information on everyone – what they study, what sports teams they love, and topics to avoid. This will help you avoid awkward moments by saying the wrong thing, as well as give you some icebreaker conversations. Just don’t look like you’re trying too hard – don’t forget to be yourself! Small gestures like offering to help with clearing the table and doing dishes will ingratiate you more than you know.

Last, but most important, relax! You’re there to have fun. It might by chaotic, hectic and altogether overwhelming, but the more enthusiastic you are about hanging out with their family, the more excited they’ll be to spend time with you. Roll with the punches in this crazy new environment, and enjoy being welcomed to the family!

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