The holidays can be a stressful time — there is a lack of money, an overabundance of sugary sweets and what’s more — the pressure to introduce your significant other to your parents. 

However, with a little preparation and a lot of holiday cheer, anyone can have a successful first holiday with all of those who are near and dear. 

Here are 11 quick tips for bringing a significant other home for the holidays:

1. Tell your significant other about your family members

Whether it’s a few quick tips to help facilitate talking points, or a flowchart that shows what not to say to certain family members, a debriefing will go a long way.  

2. Tell your family members about your significant other 

Let’s be honest, both parties need to be debriefed. Before leaving campus for the holidays, make sure your family members know some details about your significant other, it’ll help conversation flow naturally. 

3. Keep the matching sweaters in the dorm 

Coordinating outfits is definitely Instagram worthy, but it might be best to leave the matching outfits at home the first time your significant other comes for the holidays. Besides, do you really want your older sibling to hound on you all day long?

4. Know what your significant other is allergic to 

Bringing your significant other home for the first time is a little awkward, but it would be even more uncomfortable if they started to have an allergic reaction because of the dinner menu. Find out what they’re allergic to and run the items by the cook before everyone sits down for dinner. 

5. Prepare for the embarrassing stories

It is bound to happen — embrace your goofy childhood stories and just hope your significant other can laugh off the embarrassing stories and photos better than you can. (Tip: Hide in the bathroom until this is over, secondhand embarrassment is much easier to cope with than the real thing.)

6. Tell them about your family traditions

Every family has a different holiday tradition. You and your family could probably complete these traditions by heart, but remember, this is your significant other’s first time — don’t leave leave them in the dark. 

7. Don’t empty the wine bottle

While holidays can get stressful, alcohol can never help. So, avoid a heavy hand when pouring to keep from spilling some deep family secrets or escalating a situation even further. 

8. Don’t bash your family for your significant other’s sake

At this point, your significant other may still be seasonal. Don’t put your family down for your significant other’s sake. Make sure to show your family that you still love them just as much, even though you have someone new in your life. It will be just as strange for them to welcome someone new into their holiday traditions. 

9. Limit the inside jokes

There is nothing worse than sitting through a dinner where the entire conversation is based off of a joke you weren’t there for. While an inside joke can help your significant other feel more included, remember that one or two will be enough to put them at ease.

10. Take care of yourselves

Going home for the holidays is always stressful — you are out of your routine and out of your element. Make sure your significant other is eating and sleeping. But most importantly, make time to spend just the two of you. Whether it is going on a morning jog or running errands together, a little alone time will help to destress and remind them why they are really there — you.

11. Remember that not everything will go perfectly

Mistakes will be made and that is OK. The crazy member of your family will probably say something to make everyone uncomfortable, someone will probably drink too much, and maybe someone else will hit on your significant other. It happens. Families are weird. But, you will get through it and you and your significant other will be closer because of it. 

Contact Brynn Mechem with comments at bamechem@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @BrynnMechem. Contact Mary Freda with comments at mafreda@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @Mary_Freda1.