Negotiating where to spend your first Christmas together

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A new relationship will no doubt cause you to want to change your annual habits. Here we suggest some ways of including your new love in your celebrations as you spend your first Christmas together

Think of the children

If one, or both, of you has young children this will obviously dictate how and where you spend your first Christmas. Christmas, although enjoyed by many adults, really is essentially about children. Most of us have happy childhood memories of waking up on Christmas morning wondering if Santa has been and would want all children to have similar memories. In order to do this careful negotiation may be required because if children are involved, exes usually are too. If they are around, the children’s other parent may also want to spend Christmas with their children which can make arrangements more complicated. The key to making it all work smoothly is communication. Talk to your partner, your ex, your kids – ask people what they want and do it early so everyone has time to get used to the idea.

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It’s not just a day

There are actually 12 days of Christmas but in this country we tend to focus all our energies onto one. If you have lots of different people to take into consideration it may be time to lay aside some of your hard and fast traditions and create some new ones. Some families find a happy solution by splitting the festivities over the whole week so the kids spend time with each parent and see their grandparents and extended family at any time between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

If it seems that you and your new partner aren’t going to get much time together because of other commitments you can always choose a date that is your own Christmas day. There is no reason why you couldn’t have Christmas dinner, exchange presents, eat mince pies, watch a movie and pull a cracker on any other day. This could become a new tradition when you take some time out for just the two of you away from all the parties and tinsel. You can celebrate being together on any day.

Singing from the same song sheet

However complicated or simple your Christmas arrangements are it is essential that you take time away from preparations to talk to your new partner about how they feel about the whole thing. It is easy to get swept up in things and not realise that you never sat down and asked what they wanted and what you want together as a couple. Are they expecting you to go to their office party, meet their family for the first time or go to church at midnight? Make sure you both are clear about what is happening and what you can expect from each other in terms of time and attention.

It’s not like the adverts

Christmas is a real struggle for some people causing stress and bringing up feelings of loneliness and depression as reality rarely fits with the chocolate box image we are fed through the media. Struggling to achieve the ideal Christmas can bring unnecessary stress into your new relationship. Find the bits that you both value and enjoy and try to make time to do them together. There is no need to spend lots of money; time and attention are much more precious. If you can’t physically be together over the Christmas period still make an effort to put time aside to talk on the phone, Skype, email or even send a handwritten letter or parcel filled with Christmas treats. Christmas can be your own unique creation which you build together just like you decorate a tree. Add to it those things that you know will last and bring happiness to you both.

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