In those early stages of a relationship there are lots of firsts to navigate. First holidays, meeting each other’s friends, your first big fight and the box set you first binged together. Another that looms large on the calendar is the very first Christmas you’ll share as a new couple. It can be wonderful to spend the festive season with somebody new, enjoying all the traditions you’ll share and create together. However, there can be some challenges to navigate as you merge your Christmas plans for the first time.
Expectations for achieving the perfect Christmas can cause unnecessary stress, and you might find you both have totally different expectations of what the big day should look like. You may have only been dating a short while so you might be finding it tricky to decide if it’s too much, too soon, to have a full-blown Christmas together.
To lend a helping hand we’ve shared our top tips for navigating your first Christmas together as a new couple.
Decide how to split the holidays: It pays to be open and honest with each other so one of you isn’t left disappointed by how Christmas pans out. Ensure you communicate about the importance to you of seeing certain people and embracing traditions that you enjoy. Be prepared to compromise as well. You can’t be in two places at once so don’t add pressure by trying to keep everybody happy. Sit down with your schedules and see what works without exhausting you both and spending a fortune. It may work better to spend Christmas Day apart with your own families, especially if they live in a different area, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Make your plans and stick to them, rather than keeping your options open and risking disappointing family members at the last minute.
Buying a gift for a new partner: Don’t go mad on lavish gifts for each other. It’s fine to set a budget for your presents so you don’t end up going about gifting in totally different ways. Fun presents that are tailored to your partner’s interests can work well for a low pressure first gift.
Meeting your partner’s family: It can be daunting to spend your first Christmas with your partner’s family. Chances are you’ve met already but navigating Christmas can be a different matter, as you get used to everybody’s expectations around how the day will run. Remember to relax and be yourself and don’t forget that offering a helping hand is often appreciated. Throw yourself into their plans but don’t drink too much or spend the day comparing it to your (superior) traditional family Christmas. Don’t be afraid to take some time away from crowded family settings if it gets too much, perhaps taking a walk or retreating to phone your own family to wish them a merry Christmas.
Plan time for just the two of you: The sheer volume of activities and family time can eat into your precious time together, which can lead to you feeling frustrated and disappointed things aren’t going how you had hoped. Ensure you schedule in some time for just the two of you, whether it’s a night off in front of the fire with your favourite movies or a long hike together if you are staying with family. If you are sharing the day with just the two of you, then make your own rules. Whether you want to forgo the cooking and have pizza for lunch, go to the pub, or eat a selection box for breakfast, it’s your Christmas so please yourselves! The key is ensuring you don’t let family plans monopolise your time, so you’re left with no gaps in your schedule to enjoy time together as a couple.
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