For eleven months out of the year, it can be tough enough to navigate two sets of in-laws, each with their way of doing things. Now, add fairy lights, cheesy soundtracks, a roast turkey, and a whole lot of vino—that’s right, it’s Christmas time.
Every family is different, and those differences become especially apparent during the holidays. And, even if you normally get along swimmingly with your S.O.’s parents, this time of year can add an extra layer of pressure and stress.
So, to help you maintain your cool (and avoid a boxing match with your MIL), we’ve put together some foolproof tips and tricks for dealing with your in-laws, so you can focus on more important things, like mince pies and pumpkin spiced punch.
Plan, plan, plan
Can you please everyone, every year? Probably not. But you can compromise, and plan accordingly. If you’ve both got big families or live away from home, you might need to consider celebrating with one side on another day.
Find the right present
Think finding the right present for your partner is hard? Think again. Figuring out what to give their parents is next–level. Give something small, and it can seem stingy. Give something too big, and it can seem desperate. The secret is to pay attention to their hobbies and interests— groundbreaking, I know. For example, if your mother-in-law has a green thumb, extend a literal olive branch with a plant—it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Know the facts
To avoid awkward silence and ensure that the holiday goes off without a hitch, ask your partner for topics that should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t pick (unnecessary) fights
The mother-in-law. The one woman that is feared by all. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration. But, for the sake of the whole family, don’t give in to mind games, silent treatments or snide remarks. Stay calm, cool and collected. Better yet, try one of these meditation apps to help you relax.
Ask for help
People like to feel needed. When a problem arises, even if it’s a small blunder like forgetting to buy tomatoes for the Christmas day salad, ask for your in-laws’ help. And hey, even if they say no, at least you tried.
Subdue the yelling
If you’re staying with your in-laws during the holidays, good luck! Ha, just kidding. But on a more serious note, yes, you can have sex in your in-laws’ house. But keep in on the DL. Trust us, you don’t want to make things awkward over breakfast.