Ensure you tell your family ahead of time and make sure they’re on board.
There’s nothing worse than springing a surprise guest on your family. It only leads to very awkward (and sometimes, tense) situations. Make sure to call your family members ahead of time and let them know you’re seeing someone special and would like to integrate them into the holiday plans.
Support your partner
Meeting someone’s family for the first time can be incredibly anxiety-inducing, especially if you care about the relationship.
The need to be accepted can be overwhelming, particularly if you or your partner are introverted or shy. Beforehand, ask your partner how they are feeling, and what they might be feeling anxious about, as well as the ways in which you can support them. Each person is different; whilst some of us love meeting new people, and thrive in new environments, others may feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable.
Chat to your partner about what kind of support they are looking for, or may need if things get uncomfortable. Chatting about the meeting, and each other’s feelings can help to reduce anxiety and make for a more pleasant and comfortable experience.
Don’t forget to reassure your partner that ultimately this is more about introducing them to the people you love, rather than trying to force a connection.
Touch on your family dynamics
Every family has its quirks and kooky relatives who join on in the festivities. Give your partner an idea of who may be there, and the protocol for their behaviour (such as the sloppy uncle, and chatty cousins). Make sure to highlight relatives that you believe they’d get along with.
Give them a quick run-down on each person and let them know conversations they may want to avoid, and the conversations they may want to enter in!
Pick and choose what events to attend
You probably have a great idea of what Christmastime with your family looks like. Set you and your partner up for success by choosing parts of the festive celebrations that will be the less intimidating, and most enjoyable.
If decorating the family Christmas tree, going for a drive to see the Christmas lights, or watching Carols at Candlelight are fun and relaxed family affairs, include them. If the hours before Christmas lunch are too hectic, consider arriving just before.
By picking the best scenarios and attending the events where you know both you and your partner will feel comfortable, you will experience a much smoother, and happy introduction to the family.