Our memories can provide solace but also sadness, especially if they remind us of past relationships that did not work out. Rather than go all Grinchy Scrooge on the holidays, realize that there are always new traditions to be made!
If you are in a new relationship, consider the ways you can make this holiday season special and fresh by creating new traditions together, or putting a new twist on traditions you both hold dear. Whatever winter holiday you celebrate, enjoy it fully with that special someone.
Here are some ideas:
1. Make special time for just the two of you.
You both have friends and family you want to spend time with and you may want to use the holidays as a great time to introduce each other to those special other people. But don’t make the mistake of too much, too soon. You want to preserve and protect your budding relationship by carving out time and space to create those new traditions, or just enjoy curling up by the fire.
2. Start a meaningful themed holiday collection.
If you are crafty, gather what you need, put on the holiday music, mull up some cider and have fun creating a pile of shared ornaments on a theme… like love, maybe, or commemorating each of your first ten dates. If you are not so crafty, stroll through town looking for the perfect trim for the tree or house, in honor of your holiday.
3. Decorate together.
Whether you live together or apart, this is fun. Make time to do the “holiday nesting” that is part of getting in the holiday spirit. Whether you get out the dreidels and menorah, the nutcrackers and wreaths, the kinara and the mishumaa saba… whatever will fill your home(s) with the spirit of your holiday, do this together. Apply music, festive food, and celebrative drink for an intimate party for two.
4. Cook or bake together.
If this is something you enjoy, spending time in the kitchen together can be loads of fun. If one of you is not so handy, you can still be a great partner by helping keep the sink empty of dirty dishes and making your main squeeze laugh as he or she sautés, sifts, or stirs. Whether it’s Christmas ham, Kwanzaa jerk chicken, Hanukah latkes, or any other delicious meal, sharing food traditions with your new partner is loving and creates fundamental bonds (as the connection between stomach and heart has long been established).
5. Shop together.
Several of the winter holidays involve the sharing of gifts. For many, it’s the best part. If you both enjoy holiday shopping, join forces and hit the mall as an unbeatable team, or better yet, shop local and support small business owners! (Even if you don’t love shopping, doing it together is sure to beat going solo!)
6. Give a thoughtful gift that shows how much you care.
The most important thing about a gift is not how much it costs, but how well you have been paying attention. Think about what you know about your special someone, and think of a gift that will convey that you have noticed…. Wrap it up all pretty and find the perfect moment to give it, even if it’s not at the “traditional” time—aka Christmas morning.
7. Talk about how to share the holiday with both families.
Coming to a mutually satisfying agreement about how to enjoy the holidays together and with the special people in your life will de-stress a time you want to be light and fun.
8. Find any excuse to show your affection.
Despite the joyful nature of holidays, they can be emotionally draining too. Be mindful of each other. A hug, deep kiss, or even hand-holding can convey the message that you are here, available, and that you care. So go ahead and hang mistletoe—all over the place—and definitely enjoy the stroke of midnight on December 31st, but you really don’t need an excuse to wrap each other in love this holiday season.
Allow me to wish you the happiest of holidays this winter season. And email me! I want to hear all about your new traditions or the ways you and your partner navigated the season together. Love, Betty.
Previously published on Be Free to Love
Photo: Getty Images