What great advice! His/her family will love you!

I really like the tips D’Andra offers, good suggestions for us all. Here’s today’s Dating with D’Andra.

Hallelujah Holiday Survival Guide

In a new or established relationship it is no secret that holidays can be tough on a couple. Each family has it’s own set of traditions and ways of doing things. As an outsider (meaning you were not born or did not grow up in said family) you are not doing anyone, especially your significant other, any favors by trying to “reinvent the wheel” so to speak. So take a deep breath and realize that holidays are just for a few days and not a lifetime. Soon enough you both can go back to your nest egg and back to the routine you are used to. A few days of discontent due to doing things “their” way, can make your New Year a whole lot nicer!

Here are some helpful hints in case you are meeting the family for the first time or in case it is your year to be with his/her family on a holiday.

• If you are in a new relationship and it is the first time you are meeting the other family members, do some research before you show up at the event. Ask your significant other questions about his family members before you meet them. This will help you to find things in common that will enhance your conversation ability. And as I have said in the past, no one wants a nervous blabbermouth manipulating the family conversation, so be prepared to ask them about themselves and their hobbies etc.

• PDA—Keep your hands to yourself and in your lap! It doesn’t matter if the action is under the table. Little Susie or Johnny might be crawling under the tablecloth looking for a dropped turkey leg and get an
eyeful that isn’t appropriate for a 4 year-old. Expressions of affection should be sweet and subtle.

• Hostess gift- Never come empty handed to a person’s home for the first time. Don’t go overboard with a gift as the family may think you are showing off or trying to “buy your way” into family favor. Wine, flowers, chocolate or another food item is always a good way to start!

• Write a thank you note after the occasion showing your appreciation and gratefulness for the family or friends’ hospitality.

• Dress appropriately! The family needs to be introduced to you, not your cleavage! And the same goes for men, certainly ask about the proper attire before the holiday and be well groomed and dressed for success! Always make sure your clothes are pressed and your shoes are shined men and women.

• Manners! If you are not sure which bread plate to use, there are a lot of books and websites out there to go to for advice. Aunt Fanny will not be too happy when her napkin is missing and her yeast roll has to go on her dinner plate because you screwed up the synchronicity of the entire table!

• Be on time. First impressions are the most important and if your husband is from a military family and they are used to eating at 2 p.m., then don’t show up at 2:15. It is rude and they most probably won’t wait on you and if they do they won’t be happy about it!!

• Always use proper titles when addressing elders, especially parents, grandparents and older siblings. Mr. and Mrs….for example unless you are in England then you can use Sir! ☺

• Be helpful. Push up your sleeves and get to work participating with the other family members in the cooking, decorating, cleaning, grocery shopping or any other little task that is normally a collective “family” effort.

And finally, know that you are not going to get along with everyone in a family and friends holiday situation. My advice, which I do my best to follow, is to make peace by not making waves. Participate in your significant other’s family traditions even if it means you sacrifice a little comfort for a few days. Take one for the team—the team of two that is, you and your man or woman!

Happy holidays and all my best to you and yours,

D’Andra

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D’Andra Simmons is a businesswoman and philanthropist.  She is the founder of Hard Night Good Morning Skincare and an active volunteer for the Dallas community serving on the Advisory Board of Booker T. Washington School for the Performing Arts, volunteering with the Junior League of Dallas, AIDS Services of Dallas or Cattle Baron’s Ball for the American Cancer Society.