8 Things Never to Say at Christmas Dinner with the In-Laws

It's your first holiday at your in-laws since the wedding, and you want to make a good impression on them. While everyone appreciates a good conversationalist, no one likes a blabbermouth. Here are eight things better left unsaid.

Contributing Writer

My grandma always whips hot milk into the mashed potatoes so they don't get lumpy—you should try it sometime.

Criticizing his mom's cooking at the dinner table? Not a good idea. Keep any culinary tips to yourself.  And get used to a few lumps.

How was your colonoscopy?

So sweet of you to be concerned about your father-in-law's large intestine but it'd be better to get the test results when the two of you can have a private moment together. Nothing kills an appetite more than a conversation that includes the word polyps.

I hope we weren't too noisy last night!

So you finally had sex in his boyhood bed and you want everyone to know? Good job making a roomful of people uncomfortable! His dad is looking at the ceiling, his mom is looking at the floor, and your new husband wants to crawl under the table. Keep your libido activities to yourself because really, no parent wants confirmation of their child's sex life.

So who is everyone voting for?

Whether it's an election for President of the United States or the PTA, people will have different, impassioned opinions. Better to steer clear of politics at the table unless everyone can be passionate without getting into screaming matches. Or at least wait until dessert when you can throw slices of stale fruitcake at each other.

I wish people would stop asking us when we're having a baby.

We know how annoying it is when family members repeatedly ask about your procreation plans. As tempting as it may be to slam the guilty parties—which includes most of the people sitting at the dinner table—it's better for family peace if you don't chastise the group en masse. Next time a well-intentioned but rude relative asks the baby question, keep calm and be vague ("when the time is right") then quickly change the subject.

I'm strictly following the Paleo diet now. 

Don't announce this just as his aunt is carrying in an enormous tray of her homemade lasagna dripping with cheese and sauce. The time to let your hosts know about your dietary restrictions is when you RSVP; this will give them plenty of time to have a big platter of bison and berries ready for you.

We can only stay 30 minutes.

If you're house-hopping from his folks to yours, give each family equal time. Since getting up from the table mid-meal will cause a void as soon as you leave, keep each holiday meal intact, if possible—do Christmas Eve at your family's, Christmas Day with his, and reverse it the next year.

I shouldn't be telling you this but since I've had three glasses of wine…

Too much alcohol plus nerves equals trouble. If you know liquor lets your secrets out the door, don't drink around your in-laws! No one needs to know that your father's business filed for bankruptcy or that you totally forgot to wear underwear.

About the Author

Nancy Mattia

Though Nancy has been writing about weddings for years, she admits that watching a bride walk down the aisle—even on TV—still makes her tear up. The New York-area writer's other favorite wedding moments are when the groom sees the bride for the first time, hearing the toasts, and when she sees a waiter with a tray full of hors d'oeuvres walking towards her. 


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