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'Tis the time of year your in-laws, sometimes stay overnight. With those long-term stays can come some serious stress. "First holidays with the in-laws can be a bit of a shocker for newly-married couples," commiserates John Duffy, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent.
Not only can close quarters suddenly feel cramped, he says, but privacy now comes at a premium. "Plus, the holidays are an emotionally-charged time for most people," Duffy points out. "Holiday traditions may clash, power struggles may ensue, and losses may be felt." But you can flawlessly host your in-laws and impress them in the process with these expert tips.
Make their guest room a getaway.
Go above and beyond to make your guest room a respite for your in-laws to truly enjoy. "Set it up with fresh flowers and nice linens and bedding," suggests Duffy. "If your home is noisy, invest in a white noise machine for their room to eat up some of that sound. They will appreciate feeling like welcome guests in a home-away-from-home. And a picture of them, or the four of you together, would be a bulls-eye."
Consider their meal preferences.
Call your in-laws prior to their arrival to ask what they might like to eat, or if they have any dietary concerns of which you should be aware, says Ruth Nemzoff, Ph.D., parenting expert and author of Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family. "If you enjoy cooking, consider asking them to choose between a couple of your best dishes," she suggests, "and do your homework and ask what your spouse thinks would be appropriate."
Create a new tradition together.
Welcoming your in-laws into your world is one thing. But creating a new tradition you can look forward to as a family each year takes your relationship to a new level. Bonus: It doesn't have to be a big deal. "You might want to play a game at night, or break out guitars and have a sing along," suggests Duffy. "They will feel like family."