Holidays are made for spending time with the people we love. New relationships can feel especially exciting right now as you're running on the high of being in a "honeymoon phase" paired with joyful, warm, and fuzzy feelings of the holidays. While holidays are a joyful time for many, they still can come with their own stressors. The following are some tips to help you prepare for these special holidays with your partner and avoid potentially awkward situations.
Determine who you're spending holidays with
Does your partner fly home to visit family every year whereas you prefer having a local holiday party? Is your relationship at a point where it makes sense to introduce them to your family? You'll want to have this conversation early to make sure that you can set reasonable expectations. If you and your partner are both very close to your families, you may need to discuss alternating holidays or attending both celebrations if your families are local.
Consider setting a budget for holiday gifts
There is nothing worse than overspending or underspending on someone, especially when it's your first holiday together and you may have no idea what type of gift-giver/gift-receiver your partner is. It may feel awkward, but it will probably be a relief to both people if there is a gift giving limit to the holidays. Better yet, maybe agree to pass on gift and lieu of a romantic winter weekend or special date instead. Having bonding experiences make for better memories and overall make us happier than receiving material gifts. Setting realistic expectations can help prevent disappointment and build stronger relationships.
Talk about cultural/religious integration
Do you and your significant other celebrate the same holidays and are there any special religious or cultural considerations you should be aware of? If you have different faiths or customs, you’ll want to know in advance the best way to show respect to your partner’s traditions. Even if you both celebrate the same holidays, you might have your own unique rituals. Participating in these rituals together is a festive way to deepen your bond and learn more about each other.
Start your own traditions
One of the best parts of new relationships is establishing your own memories, traditions and rituals. There's a reason why this feels so good - rituals strengthen bonds and build confidence in relationships. Furthermore, many of the activities we participate in around the holidays boost happiness in general by giving us a greater sense of connectedness to the community as well as to our families. Spend your first holiday season together trying each other’s favorite recipes, watching your favorite festive films, or attending local events to begin building a strong base for your romantic future.
 Gottman, J. (2018, September 07). The Truth About Expectations in Relationships. Retrieved from https://www.gottman.com/blog/truth-expectations-relationships/
 Bhattacharjee, A., & Mogilner, C. (2014). Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(1), 1-17. doi:10.1086/674724
 Malaquias, S., Crespo, C., & Francisco, R. (2015). How do Adolescents Benefit from Family Rituals? Links to Social Connectedness, Depression and Anxiety. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 24(10), 3009–3017. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-014-0104-4
 Kellermann, I. (2013). Can Happiness be Created in Rituals? Paragrana, 22(1). doi:10.1524/para.2013.0004