Dating someone isn’t always smooth sailing. In the midst of date nights, getting to know each other, and integrating into each other’s lives, there are messy conversations, compromises, and boundaries that need to be set. From casual dating to a serious engagement, there will always be waters that need to be treaded more carefully. And one of those potentially hazardous waters is quickly approaching: Christmastime.
How do you approach the holiday season, a time of year filled with traditions, family activities, and parties? Dating in December is never exactly easy, but we have a few simple rules for how you can make sure you and your significant other are on the same page this Christmas season.
Make Sure You Know Where You Stand
If you’ve just starting dating, try and get your relationship status settled before the holiday season approaches. Living in between “person I’m seeing,” “significant other,” or “partner” is never fun in the first place. But during the holidays, you’re likely to be making introductions and you don’t want to slip and call someone your boyfriend or girlfriend when you’ve never had that discussion in the first place. So get it settled before you meet the parents.
Accommodating each other’s wants and needs is important every day in a relationship, so don’t forget about that just because it’s the holiday season. Though you may want to do all of your traditions and attend all of your friends’ and family’s parties, it’s important to listen to your significant other and do what they want as well. You can always compromise. For example, you can still be together this holiday by spending Christmas Eve with one family and Christmas Day with the other.
…But Don’t Be Afraid to Do Your Own Thing
Are your office holiday parties on the same day? Does his family go to church on Christmas Eve while yours throws an annual party for friends? Go to these things separately. The holidays are all about traditions, and though it’s nice to share these moments with your significant other, you don’t have to do every single thing together. Leading separate lives, even during Christmas, helps to keep your relationship fresh. So don’t be afraid to go it alone.
Embrace the Holiday
Christmas comes but once a year, so shake up your average dates this December by truly giving into the holiday season. Go ice skating at the local park, browse the booths at a holiday market, have a night in with some wine and cheesy Christmas specials, or get a photograph taken with Santa Claus at the mall.
Talk About Gifts
Communication is the key to maintaining a relationship no matter what stage you’re at, and that extends to the small things in life such as Christmas gifts. Don’t be afraid to have a discussion about whether you’ll exchange gifts at all, when you’ll give each other your presents, and — most importantly — how much you will be spending. Nobody wants to be embarrassed by receiving an elaborate, pricey gift while giving a gag gift in return.