With the holidays approaching, you may be wondering how you will spend it with the person you're dating, if at all.
But in the land of dating, there are rules to follow and sometimes decision making can be tricky. Thankfully, we tapped relationship expert and author Demetria Lucas to guide Centric readers on the dos and don'ts of dating during the holidays.
When is it approrpriate to bring your mate over for holiday dinner? What if your family doesn't approve of the person you're dating?
The conundrums just pile up.
See what gifts the newly married Lucas (now Lucas-D'Oyley) suggests to bring when visiting the family of the person you're dating, and why she's not a fan of guest appearing at the family's home without exclusivity. Check out that and more below!
How long should you date someone before you decide to bring them over to your family’s house for holiday dinner?
I’m not really a fan of people bringing the person they’re dating over for the holidays. I just don’t like having a bunch of people around the family if there’s no exclusivity. I feel like hanging out with the family is one of those things reserved for when it’s official. So if you’re in a relationship, at any point I think it’s fair game to take them home with you.
So there’s no time frame on how long you date them...as long as you’re in a committed relationship it’s generally fine?
Yes. By time you’re in an exclusive relationship, you should have figured the person out and know them pretty well if you agreed to commit to them. You should have an idea of their character, I hope. So I think it’s fine to take them around the family at that point.
If your parents do not approve of the person you’re dating, is it a good idea to bring them for the holidays?
You know it depends on whether the parents and your mate can play nicely together. I’m sure there were people my parents weren’t always allowed by, but they’re very respectful of my decisions and the other person wasn’t made to feel uncomfortable and they also respected my parents. I think if you’re in a situation where the two parties cannot get along, or be respectful of each other at the very least, it’s best to keep them apart.
How do you resolve a situation where you and your partner want to spend the holidays together, but each of you want to be with your respective parents? What’s the compromise?
I think you switch off. One of the good and weird things about Thanksgiving and Christmas being five weeks apart is you can go to one place for one holiday and go to the other place for the other holiday.
Often times when one comes as a guest for thanksgiving, people bring dishes to the home. For those who are not good in the cooking department, what is something they can do or bring as an alternative?
So that’s when you go to and pick up a great cake from the local bakery. I happen to have the advantage of living in Brooklyn, but every place has their own special dessert. Whatever that special thing is where you’re from you go pick that up and take it on over. We’re all grown folks here so it’s fine to go to a liquor store and pick up a little wine or some good champagne, nobody is ever mad at that.
How long should you date someone before getting them a gift for Christmas?
It’s sort of a weird thing. If you’ve been spending a lot of time together leading up to Christmas--maybe say two to three months--and you guys may not be in an official relationship but you clearly like each because you’ve been spending all this time together, I would say get a small gift. Nothing more than $30, but something thoughtful and that shows that you’ve been paying attention to maybe something they’ve mentioned; maybe it was a book, maybe it was a scarf. Some sort of small trinket that let’s them know you’re thinking of them. I think that’s fair. I also think, because every year I get these questions, you should have conversations. If you’re not in a relationship that gift-giving thing gets kind of weird. Sometimes people go out and buy a gift and the other person wasn’t expecting to get one, and so you show up with a gift and the other person doesn’t have one. That’s really bad communication, but the other person is really offended. So have a conversation and ask ‘do you think we should exchange gifts?’ ‘What sort of things are you thinking about?’ Just be honest with the person you’re dating about what your plans are.
But of course if you’re in a relationship, I’m still not a fan of breaking the bank unless it’s a married situation, it should be something thoughtful. If you want to spend a few more dollars on your actual significant other I think that’s fair.
Do you think it’s necessary for one to get a gift for their mate’s family? If so, what kinds of gifts would be ideal?
If you’re in a relationship but you’re not going to the house, it kind of depends on how long you’ve been together and how welcomed or close you are to the family. If you’ve met their parents a couple of times and you have a decent relationship, especially if you’re going to the house, do not come empty handed. Everyone remembers the person who showed up to Thanksgiving or Christmas and just came to eat and didn’t bring anything. I think a small gift, something for the house, is always safe. A gift also includes a dessert or bottle of wine or champagne. Or something for the house like a nice piece of art that’s relatively inexpensive and pretty, or a small vase. Just something that says I was thinking of you and I didn’t show up without a gift.
If you’re dating someone whose birthday falls in the month of December, or closer to Christmas, how should they go about gifting? Should they get two gifts, or one?
If you’re dating someone, one gift. If you’re in a relationship you gotta double up.
How’s the married life?
People don’t change, at least not immediately, after getting married. It’s just a higher level of commitment because who they were is who they are the day before and the day after. I’ve only been married for three weeks at this point, so it feels very much the same. The only difference is that we live together now and even that feels very much the same as before. There’s not much of a big difference so far. I’m sure that will come.
How’s everything going with your new book, “Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-To Guide For Making Smarter Decisions In Life & Love”?
The book is doing amazing. It’s getting great reviews and great numbers on Amazon. People are responding to it really well. A lot of women are using it as sort of their girls night discussion; they break out the book and ask each other questions and get into very heavy debates. It’s really exciting when you can launch conversation and get people really invested in thinking more about their relationships and what works and what doesn’t. That’s the whole point. I’m really happy with the response so far.
Anything else going on in the world of Demetria?
No, just working on the book. Still on tour, writing for The Root and doing my advice columns and my blog [A Belle In Brooklyn].
And how will you be spending your holiday?
I don’t know yet. My husband and I will probably head down to DC to spend it with my parents. That’s usually what we do for Thanksgiving, and we spend Christmas in New York.
(Photo: Alex Martinez/Bravo)