11 December 2012

Meeting the Parents

This Christmas, some of you may be meeting the parents of your significant other for the first time.  It can be nerve racking!  The desire to impress is at it's highest.  There is usually nothing more you want than the blessing of the family.  Oh, the pressure!

When I met Danny's parents, it was indeed Christmas time.  I loved them from the second they picked me up at the airport.  They just embraced me and treated me like their own.  One little problem: I couldn't speak!  Haha.  I had just been in AZ with my family where 5 people had laryngitis.  And sure enough, by the time I got to UT, I had it, too.  The night I arrived, the entire family gathered to greet me and everyone sat around the living room to talk.  I did my best to converse with them.  But I was certainly self conscious about my voice and also just felt horrible to not be in good health on such a momentous occasion.  It still went very well and they were all just amazing.  Though a lot of my time there involved drinking hot tea and eating satsumas.  It was the first time I was sick since meeting Danny, and he took the very best care of me.  :)

Here's a bit of advice for meeting the parents (I wish I had done many of these.  Easier to think of things after the fact.)

1.  Remember it's only ONE meeting. You will have other opportunities to interact with them and get to know them.  Don't feel as though all the pressure needs to be on this one night.  Just focus on being yourself for the first hour.  The rest will work itself out.

2.  The family you are meeting are probably jittery, too.  Go into the situation thinking that you want to ease their nervousness.  It will help you to forget about your own. :)

3.  Bring a small gift!  I think it would be nice to bring something personal.  i.e. It could be something that you love that you'd want to share with them, or something you made, or something from the area you live in...something with a story.  It's a way for them to get to know you better.


I love these simple, no fuss bows, seen on My Attic.  Also, I admit I'm always looking for things I can do with printer paperI have no craft supplies!  ha.

4.  Use the language of love :) - Express how much good you hear about them (if that's the case :). Express gratitude for them welcoming you into their home.  Express appreciation for their hospitality as no doubt they have been cleaning the home like crazy, thinking about what to wear, and planning menus and activities.

5.  Practice the family's names in advance.  Write them down and review them on the plane (I totally did this on my way to Utah).

6.  Bring a couple of recipes you might be able to make during the holidays.  Perhaps a recipe from your family's archives, or something that is one of your own specialties.

(image by Martha Stewart.  I just might make these pretty things for my cookie swap!)

7.  If you have any fun photos laying around of you and your significant other, bring them along.  They would probably love to see them and there's always a story behind a photo, so it's a nice way to start a conversation.

8.  Be prepared to tell them a bit about your own family.  They'll likely love to hear about them. Share some of your own family traditions, etc.

9.  Jump in to help in the kitchen.

10.  If you need it, arrange at least one date night out alone with your significant other.  It's nice to reconnect, to have a break if you need it.  Though in my case, I'd prefer to bring along my in-laws!  :)

11.  Send a thank you note after you return.  I'm horrible at this, but it is such a wonderful gesture.
(Love this collection of cards by Shanna Murray, via Design Sponge.)
Are any of you meeting the parents soon??  Good luck, you'll be awesome, I am sure.  And, any entertaining or memorable 'meet-the-parents' moments you'd like to share?

(top image via)

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  1. We will be spending Christmas with my in-laws. It's only the second time I've visited. The first time was a month before our wedding that happened earlier this year: we were deep in wedding plans, I was crazy nervous of saying the wrong things, and the week ended with an unexpected 10 mile hike and severe knee pain for me. This sent me into meltdown mode, as I've dealt with major knee injuries in the past and was afraid of reinjury. I was so embarrassed to have the family see me fall apart, sobbing, when I was supposed to be making the good impression! I think they were all a little worried, too. I hope Christmas is much less teary!

  2. My in-laws live in another state and I hadn't had a lot of interaction with them before the wedding. We were married in November and we traveled to see his family that Christmas after. I asked my hubs all kinds of questions so I could be prepared, but it felt like everything went wrong. He said the adults didn't exchange gifts, so I didn't buy anything. Everyone had gifts for us! Nooo! Christmas morning we were the first up, I asked if we should get dressed, he said, "No, you look beautiful!", so we went down and started breakfast. Eventually, his mom and sisters came down-fully dressed with hair and makeup done! Are you kidding me?! There I was in my pajamas with bedhead (the joke in my family is how terrible we look in Christmas morning pics)! The list goes on. Lesson learned: Before joining his family for an event or holiday I haven't done with them before, I ask an in law, who also married into the family, what I should expect. :)

  3. Good point about the family being nervous too. When my now sister in-law was meeting the extended family for the first time, my grandmother was so nervous that she dropped her famous fried chicken that she was making specially for that particular meal right on the floor.

  4. I wrote a heartfelt note to my future in-laws when I met them for the first time. We traveled out of state to see them and they didn't really know how my relationship with my now husband really was or how much I adored him. I let them know that in a note and thanked them for helping him become the man I love. It meant a lot to them. My relationship with the in-laws is still a little hard for me at times, but I am working on just looking at the good and remembering that they raised the man who brings me so much happiness--even if sometimes they drive me crazy. I'm definitely still learning to be an in-law. ***FUNNY STORY*** When I met them for the first time, we visited for 10 days. His parents couldn't take that much time off of work so they were gone a few of those days. We went to the lake one day and came back and started making out (like major make out, more making out than I should have been doing as someone who was waiting until marriage--I'm not proud of it). His dad walked right in the door! He said, "Hello!" and just kept walking out of the room. I went into the room I was staying in until my cheeks went back to their normal color and I could face him. I was mortified! I can laugh a little now, though.


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