Meeting the family is a huge step no matter the event or the time of year. Add in the festive atmosphere of the holidays and it is that much more of a big deal to everyone involved. At the very least, you are signaling to mom, dad and your second cousin Earl that you think this could be “the one.” However, in most cases, you are letting all of your relations know that this is person will soon be part of the family tree.
Basically, if your love wasn’t worth telling the family, they wouldn’t be crashing the holiday get together.
I’m not going to sugar coat it like a holiday cookie. It’s that’s huge.
Which means there is a lot of nerves involved. It’s a group effort. Everyone is evaluating your date while your date is trying to determine if they could see themselves sharing turkey with your relations. It’s only after the wrapping paper has settled and everyone approves can things move forward.
There are a few things you can do to make sure the meet and greet over egg nog goes smoothly:
- Make Sure You Are On Same Page About Relationship Status
Are the two of you just dating? Talking about marriage? Too soon to know where it may lead? You will not always be around to distract Aunt Edna’s inquisition about marriage. Having the same story or understanding will avoid conflicting information and conflicts with meddling grandparents with good intentions.
- Debrief About Relationships, Conflicts, Secrets Before the Introductions
Clear out the family closet long before you empty your suitcase at mom’s house. Understanding the family dynamics will help them to navigate around those awkward dating topics with Uncle Chuck or grandma’s hidden talent of removing her dentures at the dining table. We all have those “and we don’t talk about” topics in every family. Cluing your love into them makes her part of the family and removes some of the awkwardness.
- Schedule Down Time
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your holiday traditions and catching up with relatives. It’s normal to want to spend as much time with them as possible before everyone returns to their lives in other cities. However, it is important that you and your guy/girl spend some down time together AND alone. This helps with energy — it takes a bit more for people to interact with strangers than it does with their own family and friends.
- Spend Time Just the Two of You
Every activity doesn’t have to be a party of 24. Take time to go for a walk or ice skating in the park. Sneak out of the house on Christmas Eve to drive around and look at Christmas lights. Make time to create your own holiday magic.
The key here is to understand and manage expectations. Don’t expect your crush to immediately merge into your family. Be patient. Be kind. Have realistic expectations.
This is a big step for both of you. Make it as easy as possible for everyone.