So, You’re Spending the Holidays with Your S/O’s Family

Congratulations! You’ve reached the point in your relationship where instead of your family’s holiday party, you’re going to your significant other’s. It’s an exciting step, if a little terrifying, but in all likelihood it’ll all go smoothly. For some, going home for the holidays is the first time you’ll meet your s/o’s parents and family, which means that on top of all the stress of figuring out the perfect gifts and coordinating travel amongst snowstorms, you’re worrying about whether or not you’ll make a good first impression. First thing’s first: if you were invited in the first place, chances are they’re already excited to meet you. Take a deep breath, think about it logically, and you’ll feel better.

There are a couple things that make it easier to go into all this, and most of them center around knowing what exactly you’re signing up for. Are they really big into family dinners? How religious are they? You might know a lot of these things already, but if you’re worried then just ask. Your significant other will probably appreciate how much you care more than anything else. Besides, the alternative may be realizing you’re all going to church and you didn’t bring anything you can wear.

Although it’s not strictly required, if you’re going to be there for the holidays, I highly recommend getting your s/o’s parents some sort of gift. It can be something as simple as some nice chocolate, or it can be an elaborate gift you and your s/o pick out together, but a gift of some sort definitely won’t hurt. If they have siblings, you can of course add on to your list and get them each something as well.

My favorite thing about the holidays is family traditions, and I love hearing about other people’s as well. As your s/o beforehand about the kinds of things their family does to celebrate and get excited for that! If you’re genuinely enthusiastic about an obscure tradition that everyone loves, you’ll earn some serious brownie points.  

My last piece of advice is simple and about as cheesy as it gets: be yourself. At the end of the day, you’re in a relationship because they love you for you, and the best you can get is that the love extends to their family. Meeting new people is awkward, especially when there’s preexisting pressure to like each other, so laugh off the quiet moments and move on. At the very least, you’ll have a good story to tell next year.

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