Bite the bullet
It’s important to attend your husband’s family functions, even if you don’t particularly get along with his relatives, so don’t drag your feet or try to get out of Thanksgiving dinner with your in-laws when he asks. By missing his family’s get-togethers, you risk ostracizing yourself from them and creating unnecessary tension on the occasions you do show up, as his family might take it personally that you are avoiding them. Instead, suck it up and remember the real reason you are there: to support your husband.
Make a good impression from the start
Although Thanksgiving is not a holiday where gifts are traditionally exchanged, you can’t go wrong starting off your visit with your in-laws by giving them a present. Whether it’s a bottle of wine or some small token of your affection, by presenting them with a gift, you will immediately have ingratiated yourself to them and downplayed any pre-existing strife or tension.
Avoid taboo conversation topics
The key to making good holiday dinner time conversation with your husband’s family is to keep the banter light-hearted. Try to avoid topics like politics, religion, and gossip about other family members, and keep conversation about your own personal life to a minimum as much as possible. Lastly, don’t feel obligated to keep a conversation going with your in-laws if it isn’t flowing naturally. As long as you keep up a friendly appearance, that’s all that matters.
Go with the flow
If your in-laws don’t have any weird habits or quirks, consider yourself lucky because, more often than not, they probably will. The best strategy when confronted with difficult or hard-to-please family members is to try to maintain a positive disposition and stay as un-opinionated as possible. They want you to eat Thanksgiving dinner at 11 a.m.? Say, “Sure, why not?” They would prefer that you and your hubby sleep in his small, single-sized childhood bed? “It will be an adventure,” you reply enthusiastically. Fighting with your in-laws will lead you nowhere good, so try to maintain your cool at all costs. (You can always laugh about your in-laws later with your friends.)
Offer to help with the cooking or post-dinner clean-up
You may know your mother-in-law to be a proud woman who would never accept your offers of help, but it’s still nice to ask anyway, as it shows how much you appreciate the time and effort she is putting into making Thanksgiving enjoyable. (Something that male family members often take for granted.)
Even if spending time with your in-laws is taxing, you can still be thankful for one thing: your husband. Putting up with his family on the holidays is a small trade off for having such a wonderful partner and life.
How do you cope with spending Thanksgiving with your in-laws?