It’s the most wonderful time of the year to share with your family and loved ones, and your partner is no exception. Spending the holiday season with those you love should be an enjoyable experience and not a stressful one, especially when navigating your first holiday season with a new partner. This is a time where your bond could either grow stronger or the season of cheer can wear your relationship down.
Whether it’s deciding on the best gift for your partner or navigating how to respect his, hers, or their traditions and practices, give yourself grace on the best ways to share this time with the love of your life. If this is your first holiday season with your partner, here are a few ways you can make it memorable and special.
1. Establish rules for gift-giving
One of the best parts about the holidays are the gifts we get to give (and receive!). If you are spending your first holiday season with your partner, make sure to establish a few rules around what gift-giving looks like for each other.
Sitting down to casually discuss if and how you both will give each other gifts should not be missed, as it can help you avoid the common issues some make when figuring out what to give their partner and how much to spend. Gift-giving can go unintentionally wrong if rules about spending limits and expectations aren’t laid out on the table first, as your partner can expect something completely different from what you intend to give.
If you and your partner intend to celebrate the holidays by giving gifts, talk about what those gifts look like. Are you planning to exchange gifts at the same time? Does your partner love more sentimental, heartfelt gifts or prefer a more expensive, useful gift? Does your partner know what your wants are and your budget? These are all important questions to ask when deciding how you and your partner plan to give to each other this holiday season.
2. Respect each other’s traditions and create your own
Holiday traditions are an important aspect of the season for many, as it brings them back to nostalgic times with family and loved ones. It’s important when spending time with your partner this season to respect each other’s traditions, especially around religious and cultural holidays.
Holiday traditions should be honored and respected, as it helps create a bond between you and your partner and helps them feel loved and valued. Maybe your partner is used to putting up Christmas decorations or the tree the second Thanksgiving is over, or traditionally celebrates Hanukkah or Kwanza instead of observing Christmas during the holiday season. However you and your partner traditionally celebrate the holiday season, make sure to honor and make room for each other’s special traditions.
The beauty about the holiday season is the chance to make it your own. Create your own new traditions with your partner to add to each other’s childhood customs. Give each other the freedom to establish new “rules” for the holidays, whether it’s ordering takeout instead of cooking a big meal or combining your and their traditions. This is a great way to have something that you two share and can both enjoy each year together.
3. Use the holidays to reconnect with each other
The holiday season is usually a time where life slows down for many, as vacation time is maximized for travel and planned downtime with family and friends. Use this time to reconnect with your partner, spending more time together to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
If you have time to spare away from work and other obligations, make it a priority to spend some of that time with your partner. The holidays are a great time to put aside your normal obligations to make way for those who are important to you. Whether it’s lounging around the house, spending time enjoying each other’s hobbies, or planning an impromptu trip or staycation, use the holiday season to rediscover and strengthen your relationship.
4. Incorporate each other’s family and friends
Family and friends are an important aspect of the holiday season. Make time for each other’s family and friends this time of the year together and show your partner how important their loved ones are to you during the holidays.
If your partner usually spends the holiday season with their family and friends, this year could be especially difficult for them if they are unable to see them due to social distancing. Make your partner’s holiday special by setting up a virtual family get together for them, where they can spend time with their family safely. If your partner comes from a family that celebrates the holidays traditionally with gift-giving, Secret Santa traditions, holiday decorating or comes from a family who celebrates their religious beliefs during this time, make sure to support their traditions with their family and encourage your partner to embrace and enjoy their childhood practices. Make sure your partner actively participates in the holiday season with your family and friends as well and feels just as integrated into your holiday traditions. This helps create a bond between you and your partner by incorporating those who are important to each of you this holiday season.
5. Plan goals for the new year together
Celebrating the New Year can be a fun time to plan out the next year together with shared goals and aspirations. Spending time going over each other’s goals and plans for the new year while creating others together reinforces the relationship you share with your partner. It also keeps your relationship a priority for the upcoming year.
Sit down together and a fun discussion on what next year looks like for each of you individually and together. Set goals with each other to keep in mind as the year goes along, and make room for each other’s individual goals and hold each other accountable to reach them. The new year can bring on new and exciting aspirations for each other as a couple; make it a point to share goals and hopes leading into a brand new year.
6. Keep the holidays light and fun
The holidays should be a time to celebrate and have fun with your partner. Keep the pressure off and make time to relax and enjoy the downtime with your partner. Spend quality time together to make your first holiday season memorable and relaxing. Maybe you and your partner want to outfit the house full of Christmas decorations, or skip the pomp and circumstance and just watch holiday movies while ordering from your favorite restaurant. Whatever your holiday season celebrations look like this year, keep it fun and enjoyable. The holidays are meant to be spent however you and your family see fit; fill your time together just enjoying each other’s company. That’s the true spirit of Christmas!
How do you plan to spend the holiday season with your partner?