Going Home With Your Guy This Holiday Season? What to Expect

Last year I wrote this post about what to expect when you bring your guy home for the holidays (mostly focusing on sleeping arrangements) and it’s remained a pretty popular post on the blog, so I wanted to bring it back for year 2 and add some new thoughts. This time it’s focused on what to expect when you’re going home with him. Bringing your significant other home to meet the family (and going to meet his) is a nerve-wracking experience. Luckily for Chris, I got that out of the way about two weeks after we started talking when he and I went to a basketball game that my parents were also attending. Brave soul, I know. I’m crazy, I know. Speaking of Chris, today’s our four-year anniversary! Whoa, baby!

Anyway, meeting the family around the holidays is an especially scary experience. But here are a few ways to make it manageable:

  • Go with the flow: If your guy’s family has an ugly sweater party/Christmas cookie bake off/fill-in-the-blank every year, just go with it. Even if it seems weird or goofy, you want to be the girl who goes along for the ride and participates in the fun.
  • Know the rules: So you guys probably share a bed, but this is a sensitive subject when parents are involved. See, they remember him wearing footie pajamas and crying when his little brother was throwing Legos at his face. They don’t want to think about their little baby boy sleeping in bed with a significant other, especially in their home. Before you go, talk to your guy about this subject and find out where his parents stand. If he’s unsure, let the parentals take the lead. If you’re spending the weekend in sofa city, so be it. Better to make sure everyone is comfortable and no boundaries are crossed.
  • Be yourself: Sometimes when you really like your new guy and want to impress his family, you feel compelled to go above and beyond. You become you, but on steroids. Smiles are 100 times brighter, laughs are 100 times louder, and politeness reaches a whole new level. While it’s important to be on your best behavior when you meet his family for the first time, there’s no need to go overboard. They want to meet the real you, not the Stepford Wife you.
  • Share: Chances are that his family has a genuine interest in getting to know you, so let them. Talk about your hobbies, skills, job/school, etc. Don’t dominate the conversation with tales from last week’s spinning class, but let them get to know what you’re all about.
  • Help out: I don’t know about you, but there’s something about being in my childhood home that makes me resistant to unloading the dishwasher or putting away my clothes. I instantly become pouty 13-year-old me who doesn’t want to stop watching TRL to go let the dog out. Don’t let this syndrome hit you as you spend time at your boyfriend’s childhood home. Offer to help clean up or prepare dinner, and be generally useful. You don’t need to spend the whole time mopping and sweeping, but lend a hand when needed.  
  • Be respectful of religious traditions: If your guy’s family is very religious and you’re not (or you’re part of a different religion) try to make it as comfortable as possible. You don’t need to lead the church service, but sit quietly and respectfully with the rest of his family if they want to attend a service. If they want to say a prayer and you don’t know it, bow your head and listen. No need to feel embarrassed. If you truly feel uncomfortable about participating in religious traditions, talk to your boyfriend ahead of time about how the subject should get handled. When you’re Jewish, you’re used to frequently being the odd woman out when it comes to religious stuff. I’ve learned that being respectful and trying to follow along makes it comfortable and happy for everyone. If the family knows you’re of a different religion or are not religious, they may feel awkward on your behalf, so make sure to indicate that you’re fine with accompanying them.
  • When in doubt, go for “Mr.” and “Mrs.”: It’s always awkward when you’re figuring out what to call your guy’s parents. Some parents are of the “Don’t call me Mr. So and So! That’s my dad!” variety, while others take it as a sign of respect. If the parents don’t tell you what to call them upfront, go with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” until you’re told otherwise. Better safe than sorry.

If you’re going on a vacation (lucky you) with his whole family, you’ll probably want to read this post for some thoughts before you depart.

Lastly, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who entered the Canvas Lands’ End contest. As I said on Twitter, I LOVE hosting contests but hate picking winners. I want all of you to win! With that said, my winner is Bri. She said she’d been looking to try out some velvet pieces, and especially wanted to use this jacket to create a layered look, so here’s her chance. Enjoy, Bri! New contest starts tomorrow so look for details about how you can win an adorable t-shirt from Tshirts.com! Get excited!

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