I was recently walking in Vancouver when I spotted an A-board reminding customers to book their holiday party. If restaurants and company CEOs are busy planning for upcoming festive events, couples should be also — especially those who will are still in the first few months of the relationship.
The season of joy and generosity can get complex if you’re in the early stages of relationships. It feels more like a minefield of difficult choices with the pressure of family dinners, office parties, club gatherings and bashes thrown by friends or the guy that lives down the hall in your apartment building.
It’s a bit more than trying to organize and sync your Google calendars. The holiday crush can force the two of you into happy coupledom way to soon or it can shatter a blooming relationship due to neglect in favor of friends, family and work commitments.
What is the right holiday protocol to keep everyone happy? Should you invite that special someone home to Calgary where your mother will unavoidably express her interest in grandchildren over pumpkin pie? Or will your date get the wrong idea and assume things are getting too serious? (Flip side is that they may feel neglected if you don’t even mention it.)
Stressful. I know. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the mind field of the holidating season and get back to a place of peace and joy:
What Do You Want
Prior to discussing the matter with your honey, give some thought on what you may want in terms of participation. Would you be happier if she was hanging out with you Christmas morning? Or will it be less stressful for the two of you to spend it apart?
The holidays are stressful. It’s cold outside, the days are shorter and the lines are long at every store in the country. Your partner has their own time demands and they may not be able to attend all the festive events on your social calendar and vice versa. Find out what you really want to do (just the two of you and events to attend as a couple). Be willing to give and take — or embrace your single for the evening status.
Newly Dating? Skip Office Parties
Throwing down with people you barely talk to in the breakroom can be awkward at best. Adding a new crush to the mix will only end in disaster as you talk shop and they hold up the wall by the exit sign. Make an appearance at the work event on your own.
Think Twice About Family Events
Its’ tricky to try and introduce a new guy or girl in your life during a family celebration. It’s natural for family members to view the relationship as more developed than it is in this light. Plus, family dynamics sometimes bring out the worst in us. Best rule of thumb: Under three months of dating, skip bringing them to the event. Under six months, consider it if there is no overnight or traveling involved. Over six months, perhaps it is time to ease them into holiday family traditions — gently.
Talk About Gifts
The best way to figure out whether you are supposed to be shopping for your new crush during the holiday crush is to talk about it. A gift will not make or break your relationship. Good communication will go further in creating a solid love affair than a piece of jewelry or hockey tickets. Also, be sure to include price ranges for the exchange. This will make it less nerve wracking for you at the store.
Time For Two
It’s easy to get wrapped up in shopping, parties and planning the next event. It’s very important, especially if you are spending the holidays apart, to make time for the two of you. Carve out a weekly date night to get back in touch with your loved one.