Blending family traditions and rituals during the holiday season can seem like a daunting task, especially at the beginning of a new relationship. It is natural for people to feel emotionally tied to holiday traditions and memories they have had since childhood. And, it is equally as natural for people to feel like they want to somehow tie their partner into such special occurrences. However, with this being said, attempting to ‘marry’ two individuals’ multiple traditions during a four week period can cause a magnitude of stress and tension for some
So, how can couples navigate these potentially trying times? One way is by remembering that sharing in these vulnerable moments of either talking about, or carrying out positive traditions and rituals is a form of intimacy.
Other solid ways of navigating the holidays as a couple:
- Manage the expectations you have on yourself and your partner (whether it be the ‘perfect’ gift, the ‘perfect’ date, the ‘perfect’ blending of the families, etc… it is important to remember that setting expectations can sometimes cause disappointments)
- Remember that flexibility is important and celebrations can actually be on any day. For example, if one partner’s family is having a large gathering on Thanksgiving day, maybe the other partner’s family would be open to having a smaller celebration on the Saturday after. What is most important is the feeling of being all together and present, not the date that it falls on.
- Communicate to your partner about traditions that mean the most to you. For example, if cutting down a Christmas tree and decorating it is the top ritual you value at the holidays, be vulnerable and communicate that, and then be willing to listen to your partner’s favorite as well, and make a plan of how to execute these favorites.