Oh in-laws. Can’t live with them and can’t live without them. Well, maybe. But the fact of the matter is that the majority of people have in-laws – mothers, fathers, and siblings – and eventually have a holiday where everyone can come together and celebrate. We’ve all heard comedians joke about awful in-laws and dealing with them at the table, but that doesn’t have to be your holiday experience!
Talk to your spouse first. You may be surprised at how helpful it is to know how your partner spent their holidays, that way you can better predict how your in-laws may act. Some families place more significance on some holidays than others. For example, to you Christmas Eve may not be that big of a deal, but your spouse’s family has a whole set of traditions and all sorts of things that they do on that day.
Before in-laws even come over, it might be a good idea to lay out a few basic agreements. For example, you and your spouse have just moved into your new home. Your spouse’s mother typically cooks the turkey for Christmas. But since the holiday is at your home, you want to do the cooking. Let them know! You can always suggest that they bring a favorite dish or two, or that you’d love some help from your mother-in-law, but overall, you want to be the one doing the entertaining.
Taking the time to talk to your in-laws about certain things can help holidays go more smoothly. This can be especially true if you come from a different cultural or religious background than your in-laws. By prepping them beforehand, they will have a better idea of what to expect as well as how to act. Remember, this is your home and your new life – everyone may have their own family traditions, but now is the time for you to start a few traditions of your own. Don’t let family members (from either side!) try to control everything.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be flexible. If someone suggests an idea and you love it, then go for it! Holidays are about being together, having a good time, and enjoying one another’s company. Allowing variety into the holiday will keep it from being predictable and dull. You shouldn’t have to work too hard in order to make a holiday memorable or special.
By keeping the lines of communication open, remaining versatile when it comes to new ideas, and focusing on having a good time, your holiday should be met with plenty of love and lots of good cheer. Do you have any stories of how you prepared for your first holiday with your in-laws? We’d love to hear about it!