There is nothing more awkward than navigating extended family, holiday traditions, and (eeeek) gift exchanges with a new man. If you aren’t sure how to approach the upcoming holidays with your new guy, we’ve got tried and true advice to make this first season together as cozy and romantic as possible!
Starting a new relationship should be exciting as you learn more about him and feel that spark at every interaction. But the typical hustle and bustle of the holiday season has the potential to stifle that flame (and fast.) Make a game plan now that will help you build a strong foundation and bring you and your man closer during this first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's together.
Here’s how to head into this holiday season as a new girlfriend!
The most important step, at any and every stage of a relationship, is communication. If there is a holiday tradition you don’t want to miss, you need to communicate those needs to your boyfriend as clearly (and early) as possible. Opening up the conversation to include important events, dress codes, core memories, different emotional experiences, and more will bring you closer together! Discussing your wants and needs during this busy time will also provide more insight into the ways you work as a couple and can lead to a deeper relationship.
If you’re going to introduce him to your extended family, take this time to explain family dynamics, conflicting personalities, and any other areas of stress so he can be best informed before making his first impression.
Be Willing To Compromise
You also need to remember the role of compromise in your relationship, especially in a season where difficult decisions need to be made. You might have to miss an event in order to be present with his family or vice versa, so it’s important to approach your combined schedules with a heart willing to make compromises. Keep the conversation light and fun, and make sure to pair these conversations with simple forms of non-verbal communication, like hand holding or snuggling. Enjoy these moments together!
Let Him Lead
If you want to tap into your femininity, you need to allow your man space to display his masculinity in the decision-making process. Give him the opportunity to handle big and small decisions with his family, which in turn allows you to practice trust and gentleness at the beginning stages of your relationship together. Around your friends and family, let him interact in his own way. Don’t over-explain or interrupt; let him speak for himself, and you get the privilege of admiring him along the way!
Make Time for Just the Two of You
In the midst of the holiday season, it can be easy to get lost in large gatherings of friends and family. Carving out specific time to spend together is so important in order to connect and enjoy the romance of your first winter together. Take inspiration from your favorite Hallmark movie and head to a local holiday event, plan a dressy date night, or drive around to admire the Christmas lights – just the two of you!
Set Clear Expectations
To avoid disappointment and unnecessary stress in your relationship, sit down and discuss your expectations together. You can come up with a game plan as a two-person team or simply talk through your previous holiday experiences in an effort to communicate your typical approach to family gatherings, traditions, and even gift exchanges. You may even want to communicate a spending limit for gifts or decide on an experience instead of a traditional exchange, especially if your relationship is brand-new. Setting clear expectations may not feel super romantic in the moment, but it will ensure that you're on the same page and not disappointed once the holidays have ended.
Ask Meaningful Questions
A perfect way to transition into the holiday spirit with your man is to ask meaningful questions about the holidays during your next date night. If you have fond memories of family traditions or find some aspects of the season difficult, your man likely does as well. Take this time to ask him meaningful questions about his family traditions, childhood memories, and his favorite parts of the season. This fun opportunity will help you connect and get to know him as a whole person, while still celebrating the past and looking toward the future together.
If you celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, ask about his church service, his mindset when approaching the Christmas holiday, and how you can grow together spiritually during this season. Opening up the conversation with these important questions will foster trust and honesty as you move forward in your relationship!
Gift with Intention
Not sure what to get your man for Christmas? Feeling awkward about a gift exchange? Depending on how long you knew him prior to dating, finding the perfect present might be a stressful affair, especially if gift gifting is your love language. Think about his hobbies and find a unique gift that demonstrates how well you pay attention to his interests. Or give an experience that you can do together. Concert tickets, a sporting event, movie tickets – find something that you both love to do and leave it under the tree. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on a gift as long as it is intentional!
A cautionary word of advice for all new girlfriends: Save the personalized gifts for later in your relationship! Avoid adding your names, initials, or important dates to your gift and overly sappy gifts in general until you’ve been dating long enough to know you are in love. Apologies to my college boyfriend after I made this naive mistake!
Don’t Neglect Your Girlfriends
There are some holiday traditions that can only be experienced with your closest girlfriends. Especially at the start of a new relationship, spending every spare moment with your man can take a toll on your female friendships. The holidays are a great time to reconnect with your best gals and spend time together in festive ways. Set up a holiday decorating night, make festive mocktails, or even host an annual watch party for Cameron Diaz in The Holiday, complete with matching pajamas and hot cocoa, of course!
The holiday season should be a time to be merry and in love, so enjoy this first Christmastime with your special someone. And who knows, this might be the first of many!
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