The holiday season is upon us! For some of us (me included) that means spending the holidays with your partner’s family — or them with yours — for the first time. Meeting the family can be exciting, nerve-wracking, and sometimes hilarious. Here, seven people share tales from the time they met the in-laws…
“The day my husband met my parents, he decided to wash his jeans. This would not be a problem except, as a guy in his twenties, he had only one pair of jeans, and he didn’t anticipate how long it would take to dry them. Hence, he went to dinner with wet jeans on. We wound up sitting in a booth with cloth upholstery where anything wet would leave a mark. He spent the night awkwardly holding himself up a little bit so no one would notice his pants. He made it through the night unscathed, but he later told me he was nervous to hug my parents goodbye because if they got too close they would notice.” — Mo
“The first time my now-wife met my family was over Thanksgiving dinner. While we passed the stuffing, my sweet aunt accidentally called her by my ex’s name. This happened not once, not twice, but maybe 17 times over the course of one very uncomfortable meal. My aunt eventually realized her error and was mortified. Luckily, my partner was very gracious about it, and it never happened again.” — Catherine
“I first started dating my husband when I worked on the sales floor at Anthropologie. One day, his two sisters came to the store to check me out (AKA spy on me) before we met. I didn’t know who they were, but I noticed two women lurking behind the racks. My husband told me after the fact. I’ve always thought it was funny.” — Lisa
“After we got engaged, my husband met my dad’s (huge) side of the family on Christmas Eve. Rather than everyone exchanging eight zillion individual presents, we do a white elephant. Any not-terrible gifts are ruthlessly stolen. My husband’s turn fell at the end of the game, when there was one oddly shaped parcel left under the tree, with a strange rustling sound coming from inside. His options were to take it, or to steal a gift from one of my family members, whom he’d only just met. He’s a good guy — he picked the package. And that’s how we became the proud parents of a hermit crab.” — Jessica
“When I brought my now-husband home to meet my parents, we had been dating for only a few months. Within an HOUR of meeting, my mom asked, point-blank, if we thought we might get married someday. My boyfriend turned bright red, but said that he hoped so! She continued not-so-subtly referencing marriage and children for the rest of the weekend. My husband found it more endearing than scary, but I was furious!” — Ashley
“I met my husband’s extended family at a Passover seder. At the beginning of the evening, everyone poured a cup of wine… then another cup of wine… every time we sang, we refilled the cup and drank it. I was too nervous to eat, so I just kept drinking, and I spent the entire time mouthing ‘watermelon’ and ‘pineapple’ because I didn’t know any of the words. (I grew up Catholic.) Fast forward to the end of the night where I was wildly drunk in front of everyone, including my new grandmother-in-law. The family piled into a van home, where I immediately fell asleep.” — Sarah
“I had been dating my husband for a couple months when he suggested I meet his sister over brunch. I didn’t have any clothes at his apartment, so the night before, I packed what I thought was the perfect sweater. The morning of, I put the sweater on to discover it had a wide knit that made it pretty much see-through, and I didn’t have a shirt to wear underneath. So, we called my future sister-in-law and asked if she could kindly bring an extra shirt to brunch. I wore a jacket to the restaurant, met her, then changed in the bathroom. At least it helped break the ice!” — Ilene
“The first time my boyfriend came to my parents’ house over the holidays, my mom did everyone’s laundry mid-way through our stay. She wasn’t sure what was what, so she put my boyfriend’s basketball shorts in with my dad’s clean clothes. Later that night, we were watching a movie and looked up to see my father wandering around the house wearing my boyfriend’s shorts. He was too embarrassed to say they were his, so we just spent the night trying to keep our laughter to a minimum.” — Lindsey
Do you have any funny meet-the-family stories? We’d love to hear.
P.S. On being single for the holidays and the real meaning of romance.