Deciding whether or not to spend the holidays with your new boo can be difficult. Of course, you want to see them, but is it too soon? ??It is likely that it won’t just be the two of you but your families as well. Are you ready for that? ??The holidays can put a lot of pressure on a relationship, especially a new one. Even if you try to make it casual, spending the holidays together is a big step. So should you spend the holidays together?
There are the gifts, the food, the families, and the customary couple’s photo in front of the tree or another holiday staple.
And the bad news is that there is no set timeline for when the perfect time to spend the holidays together is. Is it after 6 months? A year?
Do you want to spend the holidays together?
I know I probably just freaked you out, but that wasn’t my intention. I just want you to really think about it. Once you spend the holidays with your partner for the first time, your traditions tend to change.
Maybe you always opened gifts on Christmas Eve with your family but with theirs, you do it Christmas morning. Maybe they have mulled cider instead of eggnog.
I know these are frivolous things and just spending time with your partner should be what matters, but holiday traditions run deep within us and big changes can make us uneasy. [Read: 14 stages of a new relationship to define your budding romance]
What I want you to do is consider these things. Do you want to spend time with your partner and their family? Do you want them to come to your family’s party?
If you think about spending the holiday with anyone other than your family, who you have spent every single holiday with for your entire life, maybe it just isn’t time.
If spending the holidays with your partner unnerves you more than it excites you, it may be too soon.
Should you spend the holidays together?
Other than actually wanting to spend the holidays with your boo, there are some things that may make this decision easier for you.
I hate using the word ‘should’ when talking about taking steps in a relationship because each one is so unique, but following these guidelines can make decisions like this go a lot smoother.
For instance, this year I am spending my Christmas with my boyfriend for the first time. Now, we have only been dating for about 4 months. Some people might say that it is too soon. But we feel good about it and we decided to split time between both of our families so we both get a little of our own traditions.
That works for us because we live nearby each other but for those who have to fly home for the holidays, it may be a bigger compromise so communication, as always, is key. [Read: Is it too soon to start traveling with your partner?]
What should you talk about when deciding whether or not to spend the holidays together?
#1 Are you close with your families? Families usually either mean the world to someone or they aren’t that close. Knowing your partner’s situation here is key. Do they see their family regularly or just on holidays? ??Would your partner feel comfortable coming to your large family party if they usually do something low-key? How important is it to each other to spend the holiday with your families? Would it be okay for you two to spend it alone together? Are your families comfortable having someone new join the holiday fun?
#2 Have you met each other’s families? Meeting your partner’s parents for the first time at the holidays is a lot of pressure. It is not as simple as meeting for a lunch mid-year. You’re likely meeting the parents, siblings, and maybe even grandparents and more extended family. That is a lot to handle at once.
On top of that, there are the gifts. How do you buy a gift for someone you don’t know? Hopefully with your partner’s help, but still. It is definitely easier if you have previously met each other’s families. It takes some of the pressure off and makes things more comfortable for everyone. [Read: 14 courteous ways to charm your boyfriend’s parents when you meet them for the first time]
#3 Did you talk about gifts? Don’t go into gift-giving blind. Whether you are exchanging privately or in front of the families, talk about expectations beforehand. Do you have a spending limit? Are you going practical or romantic?
You don’t want to give your partner tickets to a broadway show when they got you a mug with your cat’s face on it. Are you both in the same financial situation? Can you opt-out of gifts? If you are spending the day with family, are you expected to give gifts to each person or just the host? [Read: 21 dos and don’ts when meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time]
#4 Do you need to travel? If you live nearby, it can be easier to handle the holidays. You can split up the day with a quick drive. But, if you have to fly or travel a long distance to visit family, how will that work? Are you going to go to their family’s this year and yours next?
Can you afford a flight? Is your partner paying? It can feel less than magical to nail down the logistics of the holiday but everything will go much smoother if you do.
#5 Is the idea of doing something like this overwhelming? We all get nervous about meeting the family or just spending such an important time with new people. It is totally normal. But is it too much too soon?
You also want to enjoy your holiday so is it more comfortable for you to skip spending the day together for your own sanity? Talk to each other about how you really feel. You won’t hurt your partner’s feelings if you’re not ready. They are probably feeling the same way.
Just be honest. Let them know how happy you are that they want to spend the day together but it just feels too soon for you. They should understand. [Read: 12 new relationship boundaries all couples must draw early on]
#6 Are you okay with making your own special day before or after? If you both want to see your own families but can’t make that work together, would you be okay creating your own day, just the two of you?
Maybe the day after Christmas or when you both get back from your family festivities, you can exchange gifts and create your own traditions. Even introducing each other to some of your favorite holiday pastimes can help you feel better about sharing the holidays next year.
#7 Are you unsure that things will work out? If you have been thinking about breaking things off or are doubtful things will last much longer, it may be best to spend the holidays apart. You want to be able to relax and enjoy your day.
Even if you spent last year together and feel like it could cause problems to spend the day apart, try to do it. See how it feels. If it is too soon to tell if things are serious or you know it won’t last, the tension and uncertainty can make the holiday more stressful than need be. [Read: What you need to do when you’re unsure about your new relationship]
#8 Do you celebrate the same holiday? Are you Jewish and your partner Catholic? If you are spending the holidays together but celebrating different events, you will want to clue each other in. Respect each other’s differences, religions, beliefs, and traditions.
And introduce those things to each other. You don’t have to only do what you’ve always done. Share what you love about this time of year with each other. It will bring you closer together.
#9 Did you share your family’s traditions? Preparing each other for the events of the day or weekend is so important here. Make sure your partner knows about any games or things that always happen so they aren’t taken off guard.
If you do Secret Santa, include them. If your aunt always gets wasted by 8 pm, warn them. If there is always a political fight before dessert, let them know what to expect. Not only is this the most respectful way to go about your first holiday together, but it takes a lot of the unknowns out of the equation.
#10 What are your expectations? I know we often expect our partner to know what we want without having to tell them, but that is so unrealistic. They are not mind-readers. Especially around the holidays when our expectations for magic and joy are high, it is so vital to share what you want. [Read: 12 healthy relationship expectations that define a good love life]
Are you expecting jewelry and your partner thinks socks are an acceptable gift? Are you expecting a roast dinner but your partner’s family orders pizza? Let your partner know what you look forward to and how you see your holiday going. By doing this, you are helping each other make the holiday the best it can be. [Read: 14 unrealistic expectations that can ruin your love life]
#11 Can you both keep your cool? With all the magic of the holidays, stress always seems to slip in. We get overwhelmed, exhausted, and unsure. But if you are going to get worked up about missing your yearly viewing of The Santa Clause because your partner’s family watches White Christmas, it may be best to skip this year.
Are you going to put too much pressure on this day? Just because this holiday doesn’t go perfectly doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. Will you both be able to handle whatever family craziness comes at you and continue on with your relationship afterward?
Should you spend the holidays together? It is a loaded question that can only be answered with proper communication and prep. Give these things a thought, and whatever you both choose to do, it’ll only bring you two closer.
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