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When you were single you may have looked enviously on couples at Christmas, wishing that you too had someone to kiss under the mistletoe, give you a cracker with an engagement ring in it, or to wear matching Christmas jumpers with (alright, maybe not unless you like heatstroke). This year you’ve got your wish, but can the festivities live up to your loved-up expectations? You might be surprised to find your first Christmas as a couple is fraught with emotional landmines disguised with glitter and tinsel. Here’s how to sidestep them and reach the other side of New Year’s Eve as much in love as ever.
Your Place, or Mine?
No other time of year is more steeped in family traditions than Christmas. The first issue to navigate is where you will spend it. If you’re not living together, do you go to their family or yours? If you’ve only been together a short while will your future in-laws see you as an intruder in their celebrations and make you feel awkward and defensive? Are you ready to expose your wider family to your beloved – warts, weird rellos and all?
It isn’t unusual to feel conflicting loyalties during your first Christmas as a couple as both your partner and your family will have expectations about what you will do. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, but if you’re serious about a future with your partner then it’s important to get it right this year so you can set the precedent for years to come.
It may be that you just can’t be bothered with dealing with one or more sets of stressy parents so to keep the peace you decide to do your own thing on Christmas Day. You can still celebrate together on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, or New Year’s Eve and have just as much fun.
Whatever you decide, do something special to mark this first Christmas together. Who knows – it may turn out to be the start of a tradition that lasts the rest of your lives.
The Nightmare of Present Shopping
You really need to read between the lines when it comes to shopping for presents. If they say “oh, don’t get me anything” are they really low-maintenance, or are they just saying it but really hoping you’ll surprise them with something amazing? If you buy clothing, choose what you think they would like, not what you think they should wear. Make sure you get the sizes right! Too small and they’ll feel fat, too big and they’ll feel like you’ll think they’re fat… it’s dangerous territory! The safest way is to ask their best mate, or sneak a peek at the label of something they wear a lot.
It really is the thought that counts, and there’s nothing wrong with a DIY pressie you’ve made, or a surprise you have organised. If they turn their nose up because they don’t think you’ve spent enough you might want to ask yourself if they’re the right one for you.
Take a present for their parents if you are going there for Christmas. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – a bottle of wine, or some nice chocs will do.
Keep Calm, It’s Only Christmas
Remember that, as loaded with expectation as it is, that Christmas is just one day in a year of 364 others, and that if you’re serious about each other you will have many more Christmases to enjoy together.