Surviving Holiday Dinners



December is a time for festive family dinners and parties. It is an especially important time for those who are bringing home their significant others and for those who are meeting their partner’s parents for the first time. Many need some help to survive their first dinner with their partner’s family.

If you aren’t sure what is expected when you first meet your partner’s family, here are a few tips to help you get through this nerve-wrecking yet necessary encounter. You can also watch me discuss some of these tips on Global Toronto’s The Morning Show.

  • Do your homework: Ask your partner about his/her family in advance of meeting them. This makes you aware of what you are walking into and gives you some knowledge of what the family is like, including the brothers and sisters.
  • Bring a gift: Instead of making it expensive, make it thoughtful. This leaves a lasting impression and a better one, too. You will also seem caring and thoughtful, as the gift shows you’ve taken the time to ask about the family.
  • Offer to help: Offering to help is an easy icebreaker. It gives you something physical to do instead of standing alone, twiddling your thumbs. It makes you interact with the parents as well as learn about how they like things done. Be willing to help when asked.
  • Have a conversation: Try to talk to everyone there. If you have nothing to say, ask about buy xanax 0.5 mg them and be interested in their answers. Remember, people love talking about themselves so get ready to listen.
  • Avoid heated topics: Ask your significant other what topics are potential landmines and avoid those. This avoids uneasy feelings between you and your partner’s family during this festive time.
  • Be mannered: Remember your ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ They make you seem more polite and kind.
  • Relax and breathe: Remember to breathe in and relax but also realize you are being judged. Smile and put your best foot forward realizing you’re naturally a great person.
  • Behave: Watch how much you drink.


During these occasions, it is important to understand the actions that carry the most meaning when meeting your partner’s family. These include asking the right questions, bringing a gift and offering to help.  Ask about family members and discuss gifting, manners, drinking and types of conversation with your partner before you visit the family. It’s always nice to have some idea of what you’re walking into. Meeting the parents during holiday dinners is an important moment as it does set the tempo for how your relationship with them will progress and does impact your relationship with your partner.

At the end of it all, have fun and be yourself – just a slightly more mannered and courteous one – and you’ll be fine. After all, you must be a catch since your partner’s already proud to show you off.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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