Oh Boy! How To Survive The Holidays With Your Man And His Family

December 25, 2012  |  
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You’re probably having day dreams about snow ball fights with your guy, getting away to a cabin in the mountains together, drinking hot cider by a fireplace and exchanging the perfect presents. But as the holidays loom closer, you’ll remember one little detail: there are a dozen more people that need something from your man. They’re called family. And you may have to deal with them too! Here is how to survive the holidays—filled with his fam.

Spend time together, alone

If you don’t push everyone else aside for at least one night a week, your partner will start to blend in with all the people stressing you out! Be sure to re-remind yourself that you enjoy this person’s company, and that they are a relief from stress, and one of the good things you’ve got going this stressful season.

Create your own tradition

Try starting your own tradition that you both love. That way the holidays aren’t totally dominated by things everyone else is making you do. If you can just do one thing that you both are totally on board with—maybe treat yourself to a little trip—you’ll feel less resentful of the hundred holiday parties your families are dragging you to.

Make the hassles fun

Don’t go it alone on the things that are hassles, like standing in line for a Honey Baked Ham, wrapping presents or decorating. Grab a bottle of wine and do these things together. If you’re working when your man wants to start decorating the tree, too bad; put down your work and get back to it later. The last thing you or your partner want is to feel like you’re doing all the work yourself to keep the holidays happy and festive, and keep your family(s) satisfied with you. Make an agreement that you’re in it together.

Do give gift hints

You know how some couples insist on surprising each other? No hints whatsoever? Don’t do that. That never turns out well. You just risk one person spending an obscenely larger amount than the other person, and each wondering if that reflects how they feel about each other. Talk a little about presents, so you can get a feel for what budget you’re working with.

Don’t take it personal

When your partner is stressing about holiday stuff—like his mom asking him to pick up things all over town—remember, it’s not personal. Probably any mood swing you see in him has to do with other people around the holidays.


Bring something generic to his family

When seeing his parents bring something simple like a bottle of wine, box of cookies or nice cheese. Do not actually cook a dish unless you are explicitly asked to do so. Your guy’s family didn’t slave in the kitchen for hours for you to come in with a casserole, when they already have one, or for you to make pumpkin pie when his mom is famous for hers.

Get something for his family

Unless you’re married to your man, getting something for each individual person may make you look desperate for their approval. Plus you don’t know them well, so it’ll be impossible to get them something they love. But getting something the whole family can enjoy will look thoughtful.

Dress up!

Even if your boyfriend says it’s casual, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Even if you’re ridiculously overdressed, everyone will just see that as you deeply respecting the event. Plus; men don’t get it. When a nice sweater and jeans is acceptable for them, usually a cocktail dress is in order for us!

Socialize with the senior citizens

Want to gain major brownie points with everyone? Socialize extra with the grandma or grandpa in the family—the one that everyone else just says a quick, polite hello to. Actually sit with him or her and talk to them. Get them food from the buffet so they don’t have to get up themselves.


Stay away from the sleaze

Every family has one: the uncle or brother or estranged cousin who doesn’t know where to draw the line. If you’re new to your guy’s family, they are looking for reasons to judge you. Don’t let them catch you in what looks like a compromising situation with the family sleaze.

Learn a little something about everyone

You don’t need to know everything about everyone—remember they all just have one person (you) to learn about, whereas you may have twenty people to get acquainted with! Just asking your partner in advance what each person does for a living, or as a hobby, will show a lot of care on your part.


No politics

Even if you discover the person you’re speaking to has the same political values as you do, another family member might listen in and not see eye to eye with you.

Don’t mother your man

Don’t tell him he should be helping his mom in the kitchen, or he should be cleaning the dishes. Your intentions are in the right place, but mothering him is his mother’s job—at least when she is around.

If there’s a problem stay out of it

With everyone together family drama will happen. Even though it may feel awkward to remain silent, do. Nobody will read your silence as not caring. They will see you as tactful, respectful and diplomatic. Even if your guy is being railed on by his mother, it’s not your place to step in.


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