How To Prepare For Hosting His Family For The Holidays

November 29, 2017  |  
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You can feel a lot of pressure when you’re not only hosting one of your first big holiday meals, but you’re hosting your partner’s family for the big day. The reality is that your partner’s parents have decades of experience over you when it comes to putting on the holiday meal. Your man’s family knows about all the things that can go wrong and the little touches that make the day special. You’re a rookie. And you don’t want to make a mistake that makes it look like you weren’t prepared, or didn’t put much thought into this event. Even though you might have started your Pinterest board for it months ago and lost sleep making to-do lists and recipes, you may still forget a detail that makes it appear as if you thought this was some throw-away event. Here is how to prepare for hosting his family for the holiday meal.

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Let them help a little

Don’t forget that your partner’s family probably enjoys preparing the holiday meal. The last thing you want to do is make his parents feel unnecessary. Have a few tasks ready that his parents can help with. Removing them from the process entirely will feel cold to them.

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Shop before they arrive

You don’t want to run to the store when your guests are there—you should be present and available for any questions they may have (where are the towels? Can they borrow your bicycle?) You also should capitalize on the time to chat and catch up with his family before it’s time to cook.

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Stock your bar strategically

Make sure to stock your bar with everybody’s favorite drink. Your man’s parents will be so touched if they see that you made a point to get their favorite type of gin or beer.

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And have drinks ready to go

Have pre-made cocktails, or chilled wine and glasses, ready to go when people arrive. Relaxing everybody with a drink the moment they walk in the door will make your life much easier.

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Get them a spare key

Your man’s family will seriously appreciate this touch—it shows them that you consider them family, and that you want them to feel at home. You might even print out a few maps of nearby hikes they can go on or wine tasting rooms they can visit. Show them you want them to enjoy themselves as much as possible.


Add flowers/note to the room

It never hurts to add a fresh vase of flowers and a note to a room in the guest room. The note can say something simple like, “I’m happy to have you” or “Make yourself at home.”

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Invest in serving dishes

Yes, it’s time. You can no longer use those plastic platters you got at the dollar store. It’s time to invest in porcelain or ceramic decorative serving bowls. You can’t have too many, so get a set with enough dishes for at least three side dishes, an entrée, some sauces, and dessert.

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Add special touches to the table

If you can, set the holiday table before guests arrive—it’ll be a showstopper. Add special touches like seating cards, centerpieces with pieces of nature like pinecones or gourds, seashells, dried flowers, and more.

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Message them about dietary restrictions

Your parent’s family will greatly appreciate it if you reach out to them a week or so before the big meal and ask if they have any dietary restrictions. Even if you know the answer, reach out anyways.

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Keep appetizers simple

People don’t pay much attention to the appetizers—they just want something to stave off their appetite when they smell that roast cooking. You can stick to cheese and crackers, nuts, and carrots and hummus.


Ask his parents for a recipe

Again, his family will want to feel included. So call or email them a week before the big meal and ask for the recipe for some dish they’ve made you in the past. Be sure to compliment them plenty on it.

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Look nice when they get there

Even though it’s tough, pull yourself together before your guests arrive. It shows that you care and that you have your sh*t together. If you look put together, people feel that the whole meal is under control.


Incorporate some of their traditions

Involve his family as much as possible. If there are certain games they tend to play during the holidays, add those games to the meal. If there is a special dessert you know they love, add it to the buffet.

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Don’t lose your cool

No matter what you do, always stay calm. Even if you realize you overcooked or forgot something. You’d be amazed what guests won’t notice so long as you don’t mention it.

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Get ready for backseat chefs

Let his parents hover in the kitchen if they want. Don’t get frustrated. They’re going to be backseat chefs. Accept it.

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