5 Ways to Make Combining Holiday Traditions Fun and Easy
It’s your first year of marriage. You guys are still in the “honeymoon” phase. You’re figuring out how to live together, share dish-duty, put the toilet seat down, still have date night and keep the love alive. You’re also learning how to celebrate holidays together. Sometimes it can be difficult to combine two family’s traditions into your new marriage. Sometimes it can be stressful deciding whose house you’ll spend Thanksgiving dinner at, or perhaps birthdays are really important to you, but not as much to your spouse. It’s important to manage those expectations before the moment arrives, so you can avoid hurt feelings in the future – for either you or your own respective families. Here are 5 ideas to help make the transition into shared holiday traditions easy and fun!
1. Make it an (inside) date!
Have a Holiday Discussion Date! Make that conversation fun and uplifting. Take turns sharing some of your favorite memories from childhood. Or, perhaps holidays were difficult for you or your spouse; make this conversation a loving and supportive one. Make sure you’re in a comfortable environment, maybe just wrapped up in blankets together on the couch with your favorite ice cream or dessert. Ask each other questions about what their family’s traditions were growing up. Make a list together of the things you want to carry over into your own family, and talk about how those ideas will work together. The first step is the most important: just talk about it!
2. Determine what’s actually important to both of you
This is mostly an extension of the point above, but it’s important to be clear to your spouse which holidays are most important to you, and what traditions are worth keeping in your family. Marriage is all about compromising and putting each other’s needs before your own: holidays are one of the many ways it will manifest itself throughout your marriage!
3. Make new traditions
Make sure you guys come up with some of your OWN traditions, that are unique to only your marriage and your relationship. This will ultimately bring you two closer together, and also help create a stronger foundation for when kids do come. Some fun ideas include looking at christmas lights, hosting a cookie exchange party, going camping on Labor Day weekend (even if it does always rain on you), going back to school shopping, taking anniversary photos every year, planning a trip every other year, New Year’s Eve parties, a water gun party in the summer, dressing up for Halloween – the ideas are endless and can be unique to what’s meaningful in your relationship.
4. Decide early on
Make sure you’re not having this discussion – which can easily turn into an argument under pressure – when you’re already on your way to Grandma’s house for Christmas dinner (see first tip!) Having this conversation in a safe, low-stress environment will provide much better results. Having this discussion well before people start asking what your plans will also ensure that no one’s feelings get hurt. If Mom or Dad or Great Aunt Berta already know you’ll be swapping Christmas every other year, then that will help to eliminate hurt feelings down the road.
5. Be United
Whatever you end up deciding, and no matter how difficult the decisions may be, make sure you act as a team. It will only bring damage to your marriage if you blame or complain about one another to your family. Don’t tell your side it was the other’s fault for making the choice – be on each other’s side, be united, and be fair!