The time has finally come when you can stop avoiding the painfully awkward questions at holiday parties about why you’re still single. You finally have someone to bring home for the holidays!

If you’re lucky enough to be in that situation this holiday season, as ecstatic as you might be to finally have someone for the holidays, bringing someone home to meet your family is a whole different level of nervous.

No matter how close you are with your family, your significant other meeting them for the first time is an intense experience. Especially when it comes in time for the holidays, and there’s all that added stress. So, if this is a situation you’re headed in this year, here on some tips on how to make the experience a little bit more enjoyable:

Preparation is key

Tell your partner everything there is to know about your family before the actual meeting. That way, they will be prepared for whatever obstacle or awkward encounter is thrown their way. Different families have different dynamics, and so it’s essential to prepare your partner for what they should expect. Do your mom and dad always fight in the morning? Warn them of that. Does your younger brother HAVE to play Xbox at 9 p.m.? Make sure you include that. Preparation is key.

Tell your family first

Coming home with a surprise guest might seem like a good idea beforehand. But for your family who’s expecting just you, it’s quite the opposite. Tell your family a little bit about your significant other, so they know what to expect and aren’t entirely taken by surprise to see an addition to the family dynamic. Informing your entire family a little bit about your significant other will also ensure they have something to talk about if you happen to leave the room.

Think about your expectations

Set your expectations too high, and you’ll find yourself disappointed, which can result in a fight with both your family and your partner. Set your expectations too low, and you might end up self-sabotaging a situation so that it’ll meet your standards. Go into the situation hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. Your expectations should be set somewhere comfortably in the middle.

Don’t be intimidated

Don’t go into the experience worried about what your family is going to think about your partner or what your partner is going to think about your family! Bringing someone home for the holidays is undeniably intimidating, but remember that both your family and your partner love and care about you, so there’s nothing to be intimidated about.

Prepare some conversation starters

An awkward pause in conversation is inevitable. It happens to everyone, but going into a situation with some prepared conversation starters will be super helpful. Make sure that your partner has at least a brief insight into your family- names, jobs, a few likes, and dislikes- to ensure that there will always be something to talk about.

Take a deep breath

This one might seem obvious, but taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that everything will be okay is vital when bringing someone new home to meet your family. The situation is scary, but you can do it! Chances are, your family and your partner will get along great, and you’ll leave wondering why you were so stressed out in the first place.