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6 Conversation Starters to Help Get You Through the Holidays with Family

When "how's work?" just won't cut it.

Maman Tribeca
Photography by: Maman Tribeca/Courtesy of Bashed

The holiday season can be exhausting, especially for engaged men and women. Fielding questions about your upcoming nuptials while attending double the holiday functions (yes, you have to see both sides of the family now!) can really put a damper on your spirit. When your great aunt won't stop asking when you're having children or you're seated next to your fiancé's cousin who you've never met before, use these conversation starters to help find common ground.

 

An Anxious Person's Guide to Getting Through the Holidays While Newly Engaged

 

What to ask after a family gift exchange...

"What's the best gift you've ever received?" Most people can name at least one gift that has meant a lot to them. Maybe it was the year his aunt received a handwritten bundle of love letters for her husband or the time your cousin was surprised with a trip as a child. Alternatively, you could ask what was the best gift they ever gave to someone else. Most people love to talk about how thoughtful they have been!

 

What to ask when you ran out of topics with your fiancé's grandfather…

"What's the holiday tradition you remember the most from growing up?" A great way to get to know a family is to learn about their traditions. Are they a family that does Christmas jammies every year even though their children are all grown? Or do they always serve mincemeat pie for the holidays even though half the family won't go near it? These little things can help you understand where your fiancé comes from and connect more with his family.

 

What to ask at your in-laws' house….

"How did you make these cookies?" Unless it's a super confidential family recipe, most people love to brag about their successes in the kitchen. Asking about baking tips and tricks can jumpstart an entire conversation. Before you know it, you'll know all about your future mother-in-law's tips to a perfect holiday spread. Be sure to take notes for the first time you host the in-laws.

 

What to ask your mother-in-law…

"What was John like on Christmas as a kid?" Older family members, especially parents and grandparents, love to talk about their children and grandchildren as kids. They'll have more than their fair share of embarrassing stories to tell about your betrothed, and they may even pull out old photo albums, too.

 

What to ask your fiancé's younger cousin who is way cooler than you…

"Any fun plans for New Years?" An oldie but a goodie. Asking people about something they're looking forward to is the perfect way to start a conversation. Follow-up questions may touch on topics including their favorite New Years ever, or even what they like to do over a typical weekend, but see where your conversation naturally goes. You might even find a hip new restaurant to try or new show to binge.

 

What to ask when you have no idea what to ask…

"I always loved snow over the holidays. What's your favorite memory?" Everyone has a favorite holiday memory. Whether it's the year it snowed so much the kids were out of school for the week or the time the Thanksgiving turkey wouldn't cooperate and it was takeout for all, there's always a story to share. Plus this question will work in all situations from the office party to the in-laws house.

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