Growing up is so fun, but one part I’ve really enjoyed about dating Matt is being able to learn about his family’s holiday traditions. I’ve always been fascinated by other traditions, and getting to participate in his family traditions has been really fun! However each year figuring out what we’re going to do and where we’re going to be has been difficult. I thought I would share some advice on holidays with your significant others.
Matt and I are both from the same hometown, and have parents who are still together. We’re lucky in that fact, and I am aware that it can be harder for other families. Hopefully this will give you some ideas or guidance for your own discussions with your partner.
Holidays with Your Significant Other
1. Keep an open mind and discussion: These lessons were hard for me, but you need to keep an open mind about plans. There should also be an open line of communication between you and your partner. Tell them how you’re feeling, why you think you should make sure to be at one event, and why something is important to you. You will learn a lot about your partner and they will learn a lot about you doing this. It also helps with hurt feelings down the road.
2. Realize compromises have to be made: Go into these conversations with the knowledge that compromises have to be made. This sounds stupid, but when both families know that they have to compromise time with the couple, it makes them feel better. Also, it will be “fair” to both you and your partner. Go into your conversations realizing you will have to give up something in order to gain special time with your partner’s family will really help.
3. Go over every family event that happens: A lot of families have holiday parties starting from the beginning of November into January. There are multiple sides to visit, and family friend parties to attend. By going over everything, you’re able to see what you can make, what you can’t, and what you might be able to make part of. If you have two events on the same day, maybe agree to do one this year, and one next year. Another option is to see if you can’t make both, by leaving one a little early!
4. Share traditions and relationships: If you aren’t that familiar with your partner’s family, or don’t see them often, ask for a run-down from your partner. Have them share what happens at parties, who normally attends, and any interesting relationships. You don’t really need to know the reason, just know that it’s there. Do the same for your family and things will be a lot smoother.
5. Go prepared: Depending on the size of the gathering, offer to bring food or bring a hostess gift. For a hostess gift, make it personal! Bring a treat your family always has during the holidays, or something that you always get in your stocking like an ornament. This can open up a fun and meaningful conversation with your partner’s family!
6. Keep to safe topics: I’m all about having opinions and knowing what’s going on in the world, but this is not the time. Talk about your family a little bit, what you do for a job, and your partner. That’s a pretty good topic because you both love the same person! This piece of advice may be a little controversial, but for first impressions this is important. Please be yourself, your partner loves you because you are yourself, but maybe tone it down a little bit for the holidays? There’s something to be said for being aware of your partner’s family’s beliefs and being respectful.
7. Present a united front: Once you decide on plans, present them as if it’s exactly what you wanted. Don’t complain to your family and friends about it. This can be hard, so if you have to vent, do so to a select few. You owe it to yourself and your partner to stop any family gossip about a rift in your relationship.
8. Enjoy the time you get together: I think it’s so special to be able to share this time of year with your partner. It’s one of my favorite things about the holiday season is spending time with our family, eating food we didn’t have to make (thanks to our families) and catching up with our loved ones.
What We Do
I’m super nosey and like to know how other people spend their Christmases, so this is how we do ours!
We’re lucky that most of Matt’s family lives within in hour of where we grew up, and one side of my family does as well! For Christmas Eve, we spend the evening with my mom’s side of the family. We go to church, eat a traditional dinner, and open gifts! Matt’s family has a lower key Christmas Eve, so it worked out really nicely.
For Christmas day, we spend the morning with our respective families, and then I head over to Matt’s house to open gifts with his family. Then we go to his mom’s side of the family’s Christmas which is always fun!
During the week before or after, we try to see his dad’s side, and if possible see my dad’s side of the family. It’s hard because they live in Minnesota (my family), and with our busy schedules it can be hard to find time!
We also try to get together with friends and family friends when we’re both home.
What do you do with your families? How do you split up time? Any fun traditions? Let me know if the comments below!