How To Host Your First Holiday Dinner With Your Partner

December 14, 2015  |  
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Whether you have your families over or just your closest friends, hosting your first-holiday dinner with your partner can come with some pressure. You both want to bring your childhood traditions to it, you both want your people there, and you both want a chance to relax and enjoy yourselves. Here is how to host your first holiday dinner with your partner and not lose it.

Don’t get fancy with the food

There will be enough complications on this night; you don’t need to add a burnt duck reduction roast.

Hack it

Don’t be shy to order a holiday dinner from your local supermarket. You’ll save yourselves a headache that is worth all the money in the world.

The Finances

Hosting a holiday dinner gets expensive. After spending $300 on the dinner, you might feel a little financial heat when it comes to buying your partner a gift.

Hack it

Agree that the dinner is your gift to each other. Or, purchase a spa day you two can enjoy together the next day (you’ll want to recover somehow).



Accept no help

His mom is going to want to help. Your mom is going to want to help. If they both help, they will argue. If only one of them gets to help…oh wait: that’s not an option!

Hack it

Insist that nobody can help with the meal. That way, you avoid drama. Plus, you look super generous.



If you and your partner are trying to either socialize or plate appetizers/mix drinks at the same time, it will be chaos. Your guests will be left unattended, or the meal will be left unattended.

Hack it

Make a plan in advance. He is in charge of the cocktails—he can make those while you socialize. When people have their drinks, you take over plating appetizers, and your man can socialize.

Extended family

Once you open up Pandora’s box of extended family, it’s very difficult to close. If you’re having your second cousin, why can’t your third cousin’s boyfriend of two months come? See what I mean.

Hack it

Only invite siblings and parents. That’s it. Explain to people you cannot afford to host everyone (they can’t argue with your finances) and you’re keeping the meal small.


You’ll be tempted to turn to alcohol early in the day. By the time your mother-in-law has commented on the slightly burnt pigs in a blanket, that carton of eggnog will look really good. Unfortunately, if you drink too early, you’ll take twice as long to make (and get through) the meal. And you’ll end up arguing with your partner in front of your family.

Hack it

Have an activity waiting for your guests the second they come in the door. Whether it’s cookie decorating or gingerbread house making, lay out an activity that is easy, fun and in their faces. Family during the holiday are like toddlers: they need to be distracted so you can get work done!


Your parents are going to want to include your childhood traditions in the meal. His parents will want to do the same thing. It could get messy when half the guests want to play drinking games, and the other half want to say prayers.

Hack it

Tell your family that it’s important to you and your partner to create your traditions. When you have meals at their house, you can do their traditions. But this is your home; you should choose the traditions.

Give each other relief

There will come a time when your mother-in-law has made one too many comments, and you need to go in the back yard and scream obscenities.

Hack it

Just have a code word or hand signal you do with your partner to notify him you need his help. He’ll know it’s his job to distract the guests, so they don’t go looking for you.

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