Meeting someone special is always wonderful, but figuring out how to deal with a new relationship around the holidays can be tricky. Do you exchange gifts? How much should you spend? Do you go to one another’s family events? Is it too soon for them to be your date to an office party?
Here are a few ideas for how to deal with a new relationship over the holidays.
1. Don’t go overboard on gifts. A few years ago, I started seeing someone right around Thanksgiving. Our relationship was so new that neither one of us felt comfortable having a traditional “gift budget” conversation usually reserved for more established relationships. Instead, I got him a gift card to our favorite coffee place and baked him some cookies, and he got me tickets to see The Nutcracker (with him, of course). It was just right. No one spent too much and we got to have a shared experience. Win-win.
It’s better to do something small and thoughtful than something HUGE and/or nothing at all.
2. Let them take the lead on “their” get togethers. For some, introducing you to their family is no biggie — everyone is welcome! For others, it might be more comfortable after the relationship has gone on longer. If it’s been less than six months, relax. No need to push it at the holidays. It might be better to get together for a low key dinner with just your significant other’s parents as opposed to meeting the entire family.
If you’re concerned about the office, take the same tact: relax. Bringing someone you’re just getting to know to a formal event with all your co-workers is a big deal. Don’t push.
3. Be sure you’re comfortable before you invite them to yours. I introduced an ex to my family way too quickly once and it was disastrous. I didn’t know him well enough to bring him around and as a result, it was incredibly awkward and he didn’t fit in at all. If we’d dated longer, I’d have know he wasn’t a good match but I was so excited.
That said, I brought my current boyfriend to a work event just a few months into our relationship and it went well. People are good in different situations. Use your judgment.
Obviously, every relationship is different. The goal is to find a way to make everyone feel comfortable. Hopefully, this will just be the start of many holidays together. And if you’re single, here are a few reasons to enjoy that during the holiday season.
How do you navigate the holidays in a new relationship?