How-to

7 Ways to Win Over Your In-Laws This Holiday Season

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If you're heading to your soon-to-be in-laws' place for the holidays, chances are you're feeling a little intimidated. Well, Loverlies, you're in luck. We've teamed up with Francis Ford Coppola Winery to bring you some ideas for making a great impression on all of your new relatives this holiday season (because, well, wine will help). Here are 7 ways to win over your in-laws and make sure you get invited back next year. 
1. Call ahead and ask if you can pick anything up.
Chances are your in-laws are running around the house trying to prepare for your arrival; cleaning the sheets, making some appetizers, and pulling together some embarrassing photos of your partner to show you. Show them your thoughtful side by calling ahead and offering to grab some last minute items. It's a great way to make a good impression before you've even arrived. 
2. Give them a heads up on any special requests.
If you have any dietary restrictions, are vegetarian, vegan, gluten- or dairy-free, make sure that your partner has relayed the message to their parents BEFORE you get there. If you are really worried that you're being an inconvenience, offer to bring something along that you know you can eat; this will help everyone feel more at ease. 
3. Never show up empty handed. 
Even if your in-laws insist that there's nothing additional that they need you to bring, NEVER ever show up empty-handed. A bottle of Votre Santé Pinot Noir would do the trick, as would some flowers for the holiday table or even some dessert. Your in-laws will appreciate you going the extra mile!
4. Offer to help in the kitchen.
When you arrive, don't just settle in for a relaxing weekend. Instead, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Many first-time guests make the mistake of kicking their feet up right away (probably because the host or hostess insists), but try to resist the urge and make yourself useful. Show them what a team player you are by mashing the potatoes, setting the table or filling up the water glasses. 
5. Chime in with a toast.
If your partner's family enjoys toasting to family, health, and good fortune before diving into their holiday feast, make an effort to say your own salutation. Consider something like "À votre Santé," which means to your health, in honor of Francis Ford Coppola's Italian grandmother, Maria Zasa, who would offer that toast with each sip of wine. It will instantly make you feel like family.
6. Do the dishes! 
Once everyone has finished dinner or dessert, be one of the first people to get up from the table and start on the dishes; don't make your hardworking hosts tackle the stack of dirty plates and forks themselves. It's a great way to end the evening on a high note. You'll get some much-needed face time in with the in-laws, and they'll be impressed by your strong work ethic. It's a win-win, really. 
7. Send a thank you note.
Even if you said "thank you" throughout the night, it's a nice gesture to send a hand-written thank you note. Make sure you mention something about the evening that you really appreciated or enjoyed, and how you're looking forward to spending more time with them over future holiday feasts. Long after the meal has concluded, your note will be a warm reminder of just what a great impression you made. 
Kimberly Watson
About The Author
Senior copy editor at Razorfish.