There is something about Thanksgiving that seems to bring everyone together. It’s the beauty of the smells, sights, and sounds. Whether it is gathered around the table, or in a huddle in the backyard. Family and loved ones are the core of the holidays, and there is no better time to introduce someone to your family than at a holiday event.
For Josiah and I’s first Thanksgiving together, I went up to Atlanta from Orlando, and spent about a week with his family. We had only been dating for a couple months, and it was the first time that I was going to be with his entire family all together, and the first time that I was going to meet a lot of his extended family. I wasn’t stressed, and I think that is due to his family being so easy-going and laid back, but there was definitely some pressure, and I wanted to make a good impression.
Thankfully our first holiday experience was great. We had a gorgeous meal outside, at the prettiest table. We peeled potatoes, played outside, and ate too much pie. (His sister makes a killer pecan pie) I realize that we were very fortunate to have such a lovely first holiday together, because sometimes that isn’t the case. I know that these sorts of things can be uncomfortable at times, so here are a few ways to combat the awkward tension and enjoy the holiday together!
- Bring something sweet. There is nothing better than walking in the door with something that everyone can get excited about. They will instantly love you. Whether it is a pumpkin roll or a bottle of wine, just don’t walk in empty handed.
- Jump in and help. The quicker you offer your help, the more at ease it will put you, because you will feel like you have a purpose, and the quicker they will warm up to you and conversation will flow. It will give you something to talk about.
- Don’t be glued to your significant other. The more time you spend attached to their hip, the more uncomfortable everyone is going to be. Open up a little bit and spend some time mingling and getting to know the people around you. It will make you enjoy the day so much more if you know more of the people you are celebrating with.
- Bring a game. Sometimes the worst time to be in a new place is the dead time. Bring a football, cards, or a good group game to fill that time with something fun. And if you are one that loves to bring hostess gifts, this can be that too!
- Fully immerse yourself. Whatever their weird or crazy traditions may be, join in. If they always play a family football game, roll up your sleeves and play. If it is singing Christmas carols after dinner, sing away. If you are choosing to celebrate a holiday with someone else, you should try to celebrate it how they do. No matter how different it may be from what you are used to. I bet you will find that you enjoy it, and they will appreciate it as well.
- If all else fails, find the dog or the kids and go play with them.
Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and are able to enjoy this time with those you love and cherish!
*Photography by Abigail Peyton.