Having trouble combining your holiday traditions? You’re not alone. No matter how long you’ve been dating or cohabitating, now that you’ve tied the knot you’ve likely got new and challenging holiday celebration decisions to make. You may feel excited or you may feel overwhelmed—but it’s likely you feel a bit of both. For your first holiday as a married couple you have to drive the decisions about what’s best for you as a couple—while also considering all the things that are important to you as individuals.
It’s easy to let the stress of making time for all your friends and family dampen the holiday spirit. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few tips for surviving your first newlywed holiday.
Create a game plan
Even if you and your partner have been spending holidays together for years, now that you’re married, your family and in-laws may be voicing different ideas. From the get-go you have to be okay with making some compromises. Talk to your partner about which holidays have special traditions for their relatives and which holidays are important to yours. You can use those traditions as the basis for your decisions or keep it simple and just trade off each year. If your families live closeby, it might not be too difficult to split the day between them.
Keep the peace
Every family values holidays differently, and you’ll need to keep those values and traditions on equal footing if you want to keep the peace. Spending time with your loved ones should be enjoyable—for you both. Focus on the memories you are making now, not what you could be doing instead. Family stress can quickly turn into marital stress, so try to keep the lines of communication open with your partner. This year may not go exactly as planned, but you can use those lessons learned to make the next holiday that much better.
Ask Santa for grown-up gifts
Even if you received every gift on your registry, chances are there are a few things your home could use this holiday season. Creating an couple’s wish list is a great way to round out the things that make a home more comfy for the holidays. You can ask for serving trays, a knife set or extra chairs for the dining room table—think about what you could use to make the holidays easier and try to create a wish list around those ideas. Check out these gift ideas for newlyweds from Redfin.com.
Jingle the bells in your own home
You’re focusing so much on pleasing your families that you may forget to figure out what kind of holiday home you want—including making your own traditions. You can host both families and friends for a holiday gathering at your house, melding both of your favorite traditions. Be sure to include your partner in the planning process to make this a special time of combining traditions and creating your own. If you’re planning on hosting holidays in your home, consider:
- Making a playlist of holiday music that appeals to both your family’s tastes.
- Creating a new tradition that everyone can participate in, like a white elephant gift exchange or a cookie decorating station.
- Decorate your home in your style. Include touches of your family traditions, but when hosting in your home choose holiday decorations that reflect the two of you as a couple.
Remember the holidays can be beautifully chaotic. Your first holiday as a married couple will likely have a few misplaced gifts, overcooked hams or mother-in-law meltdowns, and that’s okay. The best way to get through it is to look at each other, take a deep breath and smile. Take a moment to feel and share the love.