“Merry Christmas,” and “Mom and dad, meet my new boyfriend” aren’t two sentences I see myself uttering in the same evening.
On the big day, I prefer to sip my eggnog and gorge on Yuletide treats without having to wonder if the stress of the holidays will keep my boyfriend — of freshly minted “boyfriend” status no less — from getting along with my family and instead turn the night into a scene straight out of Meet The Parents. Others, however, don’t share my view with 22.2 per cent of people saying they would bring someone home for the holidays after only one to three months of dating.
“This just tells you people are jumping into relationships a lot faster these days,” says Travis Hartley, founder of Meet Market Adventures singles excursion service, which commissioned the survey. “If they find that special one, they are not afraid to have them meet their parents.”
The majority (63.4 per cent) of the 16,347 North Americans polled would, however, wait up to a year before blending their romantic life with their family life for the holidays. This seems more my speed.
Yet no matter how long you’ve been dating, Hartley suggests giving your family as much notice as possible if you plan on bringing your date home for the holidays. No family member appreciates having to make an emergency trip to Zellers to buy extra pillows for that unexpected guest.
“Also, if you have not done so already, tell your family how the relationship is going and if it’s serious,” he says. This could avoid some awkward dinner-time conversations.
If this season is the first time you are meeting your date’s family, couples therapist Karen Hirscheimer says it’s important to acknowledge you are likely to feel nervous. “Try not to have too high expectations and feel too pressured,” she says.
To help ease the tension, Hirscheimer suggests getting some background on your date’s family.
“It’s good to have some conversation starters — for example, a hobby (each family member does) — to help break the ice.”
Failing that, I say break out a game of Cranium or Catch Phrase and hope your date’s family enjoys your competitive streak.