The holidays are tricky if you're married and have to balance your time between your family and your spouse's family. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but you can't be at both places all the time - and how do you choose between making gingerbread houses with your in-laws and a Christmas movie marathon with your family? It's almost impossible.
This is only a small portion of the drama that can come with your in-laws during the holiday season. Before you know it, this joyful time can turn into an absolute nightmare. However, almost any in-law drama can disappear when your mother-in-law absolutely adores you - so here's how to make it happen:
1. Praise her cooking
When you go over for Christmas dinner, make sure she knows how delicious it is. Even if you're not a fan of honey-baked ham, make her think it's the best thing you've ever had. She'll appreciate it so much, and you'll feel happy knowing you made her happy.
2. Give her something special
Instead of buying her a generic gift, put some thought into it. She might be hard to shop for, but she'll be able to tell if you really thought about her when you were buying her gift. Personalized jewelry, a framed picture her grandkids or her favorite candle are all great ideas.
3. Offer to help out
Offer to bring dessert over, clean up or plan activities when you're having big family gatherings. She might say she can do it on her own, but everyone could use a little help.
4. Make your spouse's Christmas special
Nothing makes your mother-in-law happier than seeing her baby happy, so do everything you can to make your spouse's Christmas great. When you have kids of your own, it's easy to only focus on them, but it's also important to remember your sweetheart during this time of year - don't lose sight of that.
5. Try to make it to the parties
You obviously can't make it to every family party, but you should really make an effort. It'll mean so much to your mother-in-law that you're there.
6. Participate in all the traditions you can
My husband's family has so many holiday traditions, and it was a little overwhelming at first trying to make it to all of the events. But when you make an effort to be there and have a good time, it really shows you care and you're committed to having a healthy relationship with your in-laws.
7. Let her give your kids presents
Some families like to cut down on gifts during Christmas, and that's totally fine. But if mother-in-law thrives on giving gifts to your kids, so don't take that away from her. You can nicely say you're cutting back on presents, but don't take away that fun holiday tradition altogether.
8. Pick your battles
Some battles aren't worth fighting, no matter how strongly you believe you're right. Smile through your frustration, and remember the holidays won't last forever. Having a happy holiday season is way more important than any fight with your mother-in-law.
9. Appreciate her gifts
One year my friend's mother-in-law gave her a workout outfit that was two sizes too small, and she was beside herself. Although it might seem like she's trying to send a message, she really just wants to get you something to help you, so don't take offense.
10. Just be nice
Be loving, kind and gracious when you're around your spouse's family. They're your family too now, and when you're nice, it prevents so many potential problems.
Even if your mother-in-law drives you crazy, she has good intentions, and she most likely just wants to be your friend. Give her the benefit of the doubt and don't give her a reason to not love you - after all, she raised the love of your life.