Who can believe it’s been a whole 12 months since it was this time last year? Certainly not me.

We hope the holidays are a time when people get together, eat too much food, have too much fun, and genuinely get to know each other. We also know that the holidays are stressful. Just in our family this holiday season, we’ll be missing Jen’s dad (who passed away in January) and a couple other family members due to divorces.

But one of the joys of the holidays is adding new people into the mix, new personalities to shake things up. We are gaining a fiancé (from the UK; all fancy with his British accent) and a serious girlfriend (don’t screw this up Patrick!).

Spending the holidays with people you love can be taxing, even if it’s really fun. Spending it with total strangers is a crapshoot at best.

So, some advice to all you families out there who are gaining boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancés, and spouses: make them feel welcome. They are strangers in your home and it’s your job to bring them into your family and traditions.

We know that every family dynamic is different – every group within the group has their thing – so instead of trying to introduce the new person to everyone and joke that “this will all be on a test later,” try to make the situation fun. Just call out the situation for what it is: awkward.

Here’s how we face the awkwardness head on: when someone new joins our group, we create an awkward family slideshow and we all go through it together. I guarantee it will be way more memorable, more fun, and start more stories than just shaking everyone’s hands.

To get you started, here is OUR family’s slideshow we use when welcoming new members into the festivities.

NOTE: we don’t use this just around the holidays. We try and find any excuse to break this thing out.


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