This is always the most joyful time of year—but if you’re a newly engaged couple or recently married, you’ve got more reasons to celebrate than ever before! The holidays are routinely chock full of get togethers with families and friends, with people you might not have seen in a long time making an appearance to spread some cheer. This being the season of traditions, you can finally start some of your own as a fully formed, loving couple.
Spending your first Christmas together makes this time of year even more magical than usual. While thoughtful gift giving is important, the holiday season is also about sharing indelible moments as a couple. No matter how small those moments might appear to be, they can truly shine in your memory for many Christmases to come.
Here are some fantastic ways to mark the many special moments together in this, your first Christmas as an engaged or newlywed couple.
Put Your Love Front And Center
The holidays have a tendency to drum up nostalgia and sentimentality—it’s unavoidable. Whenever this time of year rolls around, the still frames of festive times with family flash through your mind, with memories of childhood all waiting to be unwrapped as you get closer and closer to Christmas Day. When you find yourself engaged or as a newlywed, it’s time to begin meshing those old cherished memories with new exciting ones. Whether you’re just recently engaged or you’re fresh from walking down the aisle, you and your partner should surround yourselves with photographs and keepsakes that signify your love. If you’ve got keepsake photos or trinkets of any kind, be sure to include them in your holiday decorating. And if you’ve got ornaments that are related in any way to your relationship, even better! Hang those holiday adornments on your Christmas tree, and set up all your other symbols of love at the same time you put up your tree and decorate the rest of your home. This is step one to making brand new holiday memories that you’ll look back on and cherish forever!
Honor Your Family Traditions
There’s a good chance you and your partner come from very different backgrounds, with each one of you celebrating the holiday season with your families in unique ways. One of the challenges involved in being newly engaged or newly married, is bringing your traditions together with that of your partner’s in a way that honors both of your backgrounds. It’s not a bad idea to have a frank, open discussion with your partner about the traditions that you wish to honor. This conversation doesn’t have to be combative in the slightest, instead make it a fun walk down memory lane, complete with plenty of sips of spiked eggnog! Think about the traditions that made the holidays special for you as children, and find ways to weave them into your adult lives. It could be as simple as choosing a live tree for that aromatic pine scent or renting a classic holiday movie that really gets you into the spirit. You can’t do it all, so this is also a good opportunity to practice your negotiating skills. Just be sure not to hog all the holiday spotlight and let your partner celebrate their share of memories!
Start New Traditions
While making sure to honor the traditions of both you and your partner’s separate childhoods, it’s also incredibly important to begin your new journey as a couple and start your very own family customs. If you decide to have children, having a solid foundation of new traditions is key to building your own holiday heritage that will sustain for generations. Start by cherry picking a few things that you and your partner can put into practice each and every year and eventually, if you decide to have children, you can involve them as well! Maybe you decide to open one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning; or perhaps you gather everyone in the family car and go in search for a Christmas tree on the same night every single year; or stage a gingerbread house competition that involves the entire family; or bake cookies and go caroling throughout your local neighborhood. No matter what, your new family Christmas traditions should spark feelings of joy and merriment!
Fairly Divide Time Between Your Families
We know that it’s difficult to begin thinking about the holiday season before the calendar flips to November, but you’ll need a plan in place long before the holidays are in full swing. If you do it right and hammer out a plan of action months or weeks before the Christmas season, you can avoid a whole lot of holiday heartache. Instead of trying to please everyone in both your families, decide what works best for both of you, all the while taking care to remember your budget restrictions and how quickly the calendar tends to fill up. Devise a plan for alternating family visits, whether that means switching back and forth between where you go for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, or deciding on a set destination for those two days and sticking to that plan year after year. And if you aren’t sure where to start, ask any friends who are married how they managed to plan their first holidays together. And if all else fails, ask your parents!
Be Sure To Plan For Private Time
With all the holiday parties, family gatherings, and general Christmas season responsibilities, it can be difficult to remember that your relationship is a living, breathing entity that needs to be nurtured on a daily basis. If you don’t take the necessary time to cultivate your relationship with your partner—during the holidays or any time of year—you’re bound for marital problems down the line. Avoid any strife by setting aside time just for you and your partner and use it to reconnect without any of December’s distractions as you reflect on the last year, while you dream about what the future might hold. Think about making this one of your yearly traditions—maybe even record your thoughts in a special holiday notebook that you can revisit every year around the holidays.