There is absolutely nothing on the planet that is more nerve-wracking than your first holiday dinner with you significant other's family. Not only do you have to impress their immediate family, but it's extremely likely that there will be extended family there as well and this may be your first impression on them. While you're playing every worst-case scenario through your head, relax and remember that this is also a huge opportunity to impress your potential in-laws and earn some major brownie points.
With these few etiquette tips, Thanksgiving dinner will be nothing but a breeze. Here are a few pointers on surviving Thanksgiving with your partner's family:
It's obvious that ripped jeans are a major no for Thanksgiving, but that doesn't meant that every other outfit option is a good idea, either. It's a good idea to talk to your significant other before the big Thanksgiving feast to get an idea of how his family dresses. Are jeans okay? Is a dress going to be too much? You definitely don't want to be underdressed, but being overdressed can be just as awkward.
Don't show up empty-handed
Whether it's a pie and bottle of wine to share or a gift card for the hosts, it's always a smart idea to bring something for the family hosting (and will earn you major brownie points as well). After all, they are feeding you all of that yummy turkey!
Come with conversation starters
You never want the conversation to be all about you, and it's important to show a genuine interest in his family and their personal lives. Come to dinner prepared with questions to ask his family to keep the conversation flowing and to prove that you're interested in their lives. Where do his parents work? Is Grandpa interested in golf? How is his brother's favorite football team doing? Here's a handy list of over 250 conversation starters, just in case.
Know your limit
Wine at Thanksgiving is completely okay. Getting wine drunk in front of your significant other's family definitely is not. Know your limit and watch your intake!
Eat the food, but not all of it
Don't be afraid that they're judging you for how much you're eating. It is Thanksgiving after all! Trying all of the food is a major compliment for whoever cooked and prepared the meal. However, don't be that person who scarfs down all of the food and leaves nothing for everybody else. Instead of helping yourself to your fifth round of potatoes, let somebody else have the rest.
Offer to help with clean up
Cleaning up the mess is definitely the least glamorous part of the day. While you don't really want to help clean up, neither does the family that's hosting. When you notice things are starting to wrap up, ask how you can help with the clean up. Even if they reject your help, they'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and willingness.
Manners, manners, manners
It should be a given, but there's no such thing as too many pleases, thank yous, and smiles!