The holiday season is right around the corner! Or for some, it has already started. This season really is the most wonderful time of year for me.
Except this year, I’ll be meeting and spending it with my boyfriend and his family for a few days, which is to say the least, a bit overwhelming but still exciting.
If you’re like me and going to be meeting your S.O.’s family for the first time and spending it for more than a day or two, here are some not-so common but traditional tips before you enter their home.
#1. Make sure you have a present for everyone, or per family.
The holiday season is more about giving than receiving. Yes, you’re going to have to spend a little more this year for gifts but you don’t have to break the bank.
Since it’s the first time meeting, don’t feel pressured to buy anything super expensive or over-the-top because it may overwhelm some people. Instead of giving every person a gift, you can give one big gift to each family or each couple.
No matter what you give to them, they will probably appreciate the gesture and it will get you some brownie points with your S.O.’s family which is something you want.
#2. Put some thought into their gifts.
They’ll appreciate and love whatever you end up giving them, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put at least a little bit of thought into their presents.
If you’re traveling to another state to spend time with their family, you can also have a gift basket or a fruit arrangement delivered to their home. Check out Edible Arrangement and Wine Country Gift Baskets.
Last year, I wasn’t able to join my boyfriend’s family for Christmas so I sent a holiday tower to his parents, which was filled with treats and got his sister a cute set of New York designed sticky notes. Both presents are simple but thoughtful!
#3. Do activities with their family.
It may be tempting to stick solely with your S.O., but part of spending the holidays with their family is also having fun with them. Everyone will be able to get to know you and vice versa in a casual setting, which will be less pressuring for you.
My boyfriend’s birthday is a couple of days before Christmas so instead of spending the entire day with only each other, we decided together to include his parents and sister and then to do something separately afterwards.
That’s just one way that you can balance spending time with them and their family. You may want to schedule something with their family in the daytime and then do something else separately. It’s a good way to be able to spend time with both equally.
#4. Offer to help but to an extent.
It’s common courtesy and knowledge that you can make a good first impression on your S.O.’s family if you help or offer to help with cleaning and setting up, or anything else. But don’t overdo it, or else you may come off as trying too hard.
There’s a possibility that their mom may want you to converse with the other family members instead of helping to prepare dinner or with washing the dishes, and that’s a good thing! That may mean she wants you to get to know everyone else in the family.
There’s no minimum or maximum number of times that you should offer to help but I think once or twice is generally a good amount. Remember that if your offer gets turned down, you can offer to help at a later time or even the next day.
#5. Do your best to converse with their relatives.
Sure, the most important people that you want to give a good impression on is to your S.O.’s parents, but if there are other relatives there such as siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins or grandparents, you need to do your best to spend time with them too!
When I travel to Oregon to spend the holidays with my boyfriend and his family, his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and sister will be there, so I’m going to take my own advice and do my best to get to know everyone as much as I can.
The reason I feel like this is important is because even though your S.O. was raised by their parents, their relatives may have also been a big part of their life, depending on how close and tight-knit the family is.
#6. Support and affirm your S.O. when appropriate.
The best thing you can do to make a great impression on your S.O.’s family is to show them through words and actions that you are their biggest cheerleader and that you admire their child.
There’s nothing more that a parent wants for their kid than for them to be with someone who appreciates and supports them for who they are.
If they’re having a discussion about how great they are at their job or on what a wonderful person they are, after you’ve acknowledged it, express your confidence and on how proud you are of them, if warranted.
But as I mentioned before, don’t overdo it because it may end up coming off as being fake or that you’re trying too hard to get their approval. As important as it is to express support and love, it’s also crucial that it’s genuine.