24/11/2014 06:59 GMT | Updated 21/01/2015 05:59 GMT

Four Things to Do If You're Meeting the Parents This Holiday Season

If you've been dating someone new for the past few months, chances are that you'll be meeting their family this holiday season. Meeting the parents (and the grandparents, and the siblings and the family friends....) is always nerve-wracking and there seems to be even more pressure to make a good impression this time of year. Here are four ways to make a great first impression this holiday season.

1. Don't Show Up Empty Handed

It's never been more important to mind your manners than it is when meeting your significant other's family, and it's crucial that you show up with something in your hands, whether it's your homemade contribution to the holiday dinner or a bouquet of flowers for the host. Score even more points by doing you research! Ask your partner what type of wine, snacks or even candles his mom/aunt/grandma likes, and personalize your gift even more! You aren't trying to buy their affection, but showing you put thought and effort into your gift will take you a long way! 

2. Offer To Help and Delay Awkward Silences

I know it can be extremely intimidating to stroll into a house full of people who have known each other for years, roll up your sleeves and jump right in. While you don't need to become the director of Christmas dinner, it will speak volumes if you politely ask the host if there is anything you can help with, from setting the table to refilling wine glasses. This gives you a great opportunity to mingle and will also prevent any awkward silences--sometimes it's better to be busy with the silverware than just sitting around in a room full of strangers! 

3. Take It Easy On the Alcohol

Step back and away from the liquid courage, hard as it might be! While that cocktail you're chugging might help you feel more relaxed and chatty, it's a slippery slope to drunk-ville. When it comes to drinking, its best to follow everyone else's lead. If everybody is drinking water, it's probably not a great idea to ask for a double vodka tonic. However, if spirits are readily available, it's okay to proceed, just with caution. Remember, your first impression can never be erased, and getting sloppy on Christmas Eve may not be the way you want your new boyfriend's extended family to remember you.

4. Be Yourself

All this talk of first impressions can make it seem that you have to fit into a certain persona, when really it's about presenting the best version of your quirky, unique, witty self! Remember that your partner's family is excited to get to know the real you, and see why their son or daughter is so smitten! Don't be afraid to let your personality shine through or let your nerves prevent you from expressing yourself. Crack a (non-offensive!) joke or two, tell a personal story and share details about your life-what you do for work, what your hobbies and interests are or what your own family does for the holidays! Your partner brought you home for the holidays for a reason--he or she thinks you're amazing, and wants the people he loves most in the world to get to know you!