3 Simple Steps to a Merrier Christmas
~Christmas is, above all else, about love and joy and sharing, so try to stay focused on those things, while setting the more material aspects of Christmas aside~
Christmas is supposed to be a happy holiday for all, but as most know, it is also a time of the year that can cause a lot of stress and arguing, even among otherwise happy couples. Sound familiar? Then check out these top 3 suggestions on how to avoid common holiday stressors.
My family or yours?
One of the major stressors for couples around Christmas occurs when each partner’s family is competing for their time. The two of you want to be together, and can’t be in two places at once, but you also want to avoid hurting family members’ feelings and perhaps winding up in conflict with them. Often, the best solution is compromise. For example, offer to spend Christmas Eve with one of your families, and Christmas Day with the other’s. While this may not make everyone completely happy, it may be enough to prevent any long-lasting hard feelings.
If your families live far apart from each other, however, this can make things a bit more complicated, since the time required for travel might make it impossible to share your time as suggested above. Even in cases like that, compromise can still be possible — such as offering to spend Christmas with one of your families one year, and with the other partner’s family the next. If these efforts fail, however, and both of you feel very strongly about spending Christmas with your own family, you may just have to spend Christmas apart. If that happens, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a decision that both of you made, and so you should try to make sure that it doesn’t become a point of contention between the two of you later on. Remember, Christmas comes only once a year, and you don’t want arguments about that one day to undermine the fabric of your relationship all year ’round!
Respect each other’s traditions and feelings:
For some people, Christmas is just another day, and for others, it’s the high point of their year. If you find that you are in a relationship in which the two of you are at opposite ends of the spectrum, try to remember that relationships are all about being supportive of each other. So even if Christmas doesn’t mean a lot to you, your partner will really appreciate it if you offer to help him or her trim the tree, or perhaps find some other small ways to take part in the festivities — activities that won’t completely drain you and leave you feeling resentful, and yet will help to make your partner feel that you really do care enough to at least take some interest in his or her favorite holiday. Also, some couples come from different religious backgrounds, and if your partner feels that it is truly wrong to participate in Christmas because he or she adheres to another spiritual belief, this situation really calls for complete respect of the other person’s beliefs. This is especially true because when a couple’s religions are vastly different, Christmas may be just one of the issues that require them to come to some sort of accord, and while these areas can be tricky to navigate, if you want the relationship to last and grow, then you will have to meet these challenges very directly, with an open heart and mind. The first few years may feel uncomfortable at times because of this, but if you truly love each other and are willing to have some patience and understanding, these types of obstacles can definitely be overcome.
Getting the right gift:
When it comes to gift-giving, some of us want to be surprised, while others want to make a list of exactly what would make them happy. If you’re not sure of what your partner wants, there’s nothing wrong with asking the question directly, but if one of you says, “Surprise me!” then that person has to be careful not to become overly disappointed, or worse yet, maybe even angry with his or her partner if the “surprise” gift doesn’t meet any expectations that might have been in mind. After all, if someone asks to be surprised, then that’s what they have to be prepared for — a total surprise! And remember, no matter what, your partner probably meant well, and if this year’s gift doesn’t please, then there’s always next year, and you’ll know to be more specific about what you would or wouldn’t like the next time around. In addition, be sympathetic to your partner’s financial status, as he or she may have wanted to get you something more showy or expensive, but for whatever reason, simply couldn’t afford it. Christmas is, above all else, about love and joy and sharing, so try to stay focused on those things, while setting the more material aspects of Christmas aside, if possible.