So, a few months have passed now since Mr. Man and I started dating. Though I initially wasn’t sure what direction the relationship would take, every development with him has been a pleasant surprise. It’s safe to say that I’m in the full blown, head-over-heels, all’s-well-with-the-world-through-my-rose-colored-glasses, butterflies-taking-over-my-gut, stage of enamor that makes new relationships so exciting. We’ve passed many of the usual ‘milestones,’ meeting friends & meeting the parents among them, but now, with the holidays upon us, I am faced with the new development of spending Christmas with his extended family. The idea excites me and scares me as my mind darts from the shallowest of concerns like what to wear to dress to impress, to the slightly more significant questions like: Will they like me? How do I make a good first impression? Will they think we are a good fit? Where is the balance between being thoughtful/enthusiastic and overdoing it?
I should pause for a moment to acknowledge the fact that I’m not quite self-centered enough to believe that their family’s Christmas dinner will revolve entirely around my presence there, but I can’t help but be a bit nervous! In sum, as my mild OCD would have me do in private anyway, here, I have compiled a list of things swirling through my mind as I prepare for Christmas with the boyfriend – hopefully some of you can relate!
WHAT TO WEAR
The second that the invitation was extended to me to join in his family’s festivities, it is both slightly embarrassing, but true, that the first thought that entered my mind was what to wear? How to strike a balance between dressing for the occasion, dressing family-appropriate & conservative, but still being comfortable and expressive of my personality and style? Though there are still a few days left, and many outfits will undoubtedly be tried, retried, photographed and distributed to my girlfriends for feedback, I have settled on a few key criteria that the outfit must meet:
- Conservative comfort: If I’m going to have to be pulling a dress up (to conceal my cleavage), down (to cover my bottom), or worse, both, the outfit is a no go. My goal is to be respectful of his family and to ensure that my outfit does not make them or myself uncomfortable!
- Subtle splashes of style: I can have an usual taste for clothes and accessories that make my style what it is…however…I have made a conscious choice that this will not be a venue for me to try out the latest or strangest fashion phases I have been experimenting with. Instead, I will opt for subtle splashes of style, most likely through the right accessories!
- Occasion appropriate: Christmas is a religious holiday, and that has to be of paramount consideration. The outfit I go for must, therefore, strike the right balance between dressy and traditional!
Stay tuned for updates on the outfit I end up choosing!
Well, it’s a no-brainer that Mr. Man and I will be exchanging gifts, and anyone that knows me well, knows that gift giving is something I take very seriously! Carefully planned lists of gift possibilities are compiled and narrowed down over weeks of consultation and shopping trips with my girlfriends, so I have now been able to arrive at just the right gift to give him for the holidays. BUT what about his parents? There is no written rule that says a gift needs to be given to boyfriend’s parents for the holidays, especially when you’ve just met them…but, a small, thoughtful gesture is what I’ve decided to opt for. His parents are awesome, and they’ve made me feel so welcome in their family that a small token in celebration of the holidays, and for letting me be part of theirs, seems more than appropriate! But what to get them?? Here is a (very) short list of possible gift ideas for boyfriend’s parents, let me know if you have other ideas!:
- Nice box of chocolates
- Home décor items
- Gift basket of holiday treats: hot chocolate, nuts, candy canes, etc.
THE BIG DAY
Clearly, I’ve put a lot of thought into elements that are under my control, like what to wear and what gifts to get, but once the big day arrives, there will be a lot that will not be in my control. I cannot reiterate enough how nervous I am, but there are a few basic things that I know will help me navigate Christmas dinner:
- Don’t show up empty handed: Whatever small thing you can make or bring is always a nice gesture. We all know that there will almost never be any lack of foods or desserts at one of these larger family gatherings, but if there’s something you can contribute to the sharing, it’s always a good thing. This time around, I have opted to bake up a storm and make a tray of some of my favorite bite-sized desserts to bring with me (butterscotch squares, Oreo cheesecake balls, mint Oreo cheesecake balls, and peanut butter bars- will keep you posted with recipes and pictures)!
- Be helpful: Christmas dinner is a time for family to get together and push aside all the stresses and problems that usually take over our lives. Help make the day/dinner that much better for the hosts by helping out wherever you can – setting/clearing the table, helping with cleanup, and serving drinks/food are just a few ways to help out!
- Take pictures: Everyone knows that I love to take photos. There’s nothing better than being able to look back on memories like these when family comes together. Even though it may not be your family getting together, most families would appreciate the offer to snap a few photos of everyone!
- PDA awareness: Even though, at this point, all I want to do, is be close to him, hold his hand, or even sneak a kiss in here & there, Christmas dinner is not the time or place to let him know exactly how irresistible I find him. PDA around family can be a tricky thing, but generally, my rule is: whoever’s family it is, sets the boundaries for PDA. Since I will be at his family’s dinner, I will leave it up to him if he feels comfortable sitting right next to me, holding my hand, etc.
Well, that’s enough fixating for now. Stay tuned for updates and photos & if I’ve missed any important thoughts on spending Christmas with the boyfriend & his family, let me know!