Santa's coming to town — and so are your in-laws. Whether you're having them over for a holiday dinner or you're prepping the guest room for an extended stay, hosting your new family can be daunting. But a bit of preparation will help make the get-together as relaxing as possible.
Before you lay out the welcome mat, make sure you have a frank discussion with your husband about the expectations and goals for the visit.
"Remember, you and your partner are the new 'nuclear' family and the parents are now considered 'extended' family,'" advises relationship expert and author Rachel Sussman. "They have to fit into your life and the rules of your home." If you're concerned that a particular issue may arise, make an action plan with your husband so you are prepared to deal with the hitch as a unit.
If your husband's family is traveling to visit, decide beforehand if you want them to stay in your home or another location.
If you live in a tiny residence, it may make sense to book a hotel room for your guests. But a house full of empty bedrooms may provide enough space for the whole family to get along under one roof. "It's important that everyone has personal space if possible," Sussman says.
When it's time to celebrate, include some of your in-law's traditions in the festivities.
Serve the special dish your husband's family usually enjoys at his mom's house, or follow one of their gift exchange rituals. Your new family will appreciate the welcoming gesture.
If you run into any drama while the in-laws are around, speak to your husband about it.
"Let him be the one to diffuse the situation and speak with his parents," Sussman urges. "Make a commitment that no matter what, you and your partner will be on the same team and will support each other first. If you follow this an agree to stay close, to laugh, to have fun — it will work out fine!"