Oh, the holidays. Some say that the first holiday season with your partner can make or break your relationship, which is somewhat true — the holidays can be stressful and often involves the introduction of your family members into the equation for the first time. But your relationship can survive the holidays if you don’t let it break it– check out this guide to learn how.
Discuss each other’s expectations
Talk early on about how you will both handle the holidays and what part you’ll each play in the other’s celebrations. Will you go to everything as a couple and split your time between both families, or will you plan to celebrate separately this year? This is also a good chance to talk about gift expectations. Discuss whether you will exchange gifts with each other, what your spending max will be set at, and when you want to do the actual exchange. Knowing ahead of time what you both want out of the holidays will help to prevent last-minute misunderstandings.
Plan ahead and make a schedule
Make things easier on both you and your families by knowing early on what your schedule will be for the holidays. Figure out where you’re going and when, and write it all down so it’s set in stone. Then you can tell your family members what your plan is when they ask. If you set a schedule early on and communicate it to everyone, you’ll be more likely to stick to it (and you won’t upset anyone for being late or not staying long enough).
Go gift shopping together
Picking out a gift for your Great-Aunt Helen may not be the most fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, so going gift shopping together is a great way to bond while getting your holiday “chores” completed. You can also bounce gift ideas off of each other– your boyfriend may have a better idea of what your younger brother will want than you do. Take a day to get it all done together, either with a trip to the mall or a day on the couch shopping online. Just make sure your partner can’t see the gift you’re getting for HIM!
Remember to enjoy yourselves
The holidays can be stressful, and everyone knows that your first holiday season in a relationship isn’t just presents and mistletoe. But remember that the holidays are for spending quality time with your loved ones, so enjoy the fun parts about the holidays together– go hunting for the best Christmas decorations in your town, watch classic holiday movies together, and snuggle up with hot chocolate for a quiet night in. Don’t let the crazy holiday stress tear you apart!
What tips do you have to help your relationship survive the holidays?
Photo credit: Amanda Lockwood via Flickr