You’re coming up on your first Christmas as a married couple, and you want to make it a year you’ll always remember. With some imagination, patience, and budgeting you can ensure you both enjoy the holiday to its fullest.
Every couple deals with this stress on their first Christmas together—how will you split your time between families? It can be a huge strain on your relationship, so sit down and talk honestly about what your expectations are, making sure to listen to theirs, as well. If you do have to choose a family to spend the holiday with, expect some hurt feelings and make sure you spend time explaining why it has to be the way you’ve decided. Be flexible, and understand that Christmas probably won’t be the same anymore—but different doesn’t mean worse. If you can’t seem to agree on where to spend your time and you’re lucky enough to have both of your families living in the same town, invite both families to dinner at your place.
Money can get tight around Christmas, and this will be your first year navigating the holiday budget together. Make it a priority, and plan to sit down and map out what you can spend. The last thing you need is to be neck deep in debt after the holidays. Make a gifting budget, food budget, and travel budget. There are many things that can easily drain your bank account during the winter months, so be sure you plan accordingly.
This Time it’s Personal
Make the holiday your own by personalizing an item that you’ll always remember and look back on with fond memories. Purchase a special ornament for your tree and get it personalized with the year of your first Christmas together. When you pull it out of the box each December you can look back on your wonderful first year of marriage.
Christmastime will probably have you running around frantically to different events and gatherings, and this may leave little time for you two as a couple. Make plans for special date nights for just the two of you. Even if it’s just a movie night in over some Chinese food take out, making a plan will make you more likely to stick to it and give you something to look forward to each week.
Christmas will undoubtedly be an expensive time, so make it easier on each other and take away the stress of finding the perfect present this year. Promise each other that the only gifts you’ll accept will be those that are handmade. This will cut down on costs and make for presents you both will treasure for years to come—even if your art skills aren’t the best.
Make New Traditions and Respect Old Ones
Don’t scoff at your new spouse’s traditions—if they love to make Santa cookies, then help them frost to the best of your ability. Meld together the different traditions you’ve both enjoyed since childhood to ensure you each get to partake in your favorite parts of the season. In your first year of marriage, it’s also time to create new traditions. Maybe it’s a Christmas movie that you both love, or perhaps it’s spending an evening relaxing and chatting over some hot toddies. Maybe you’ll decide on a favorite Christmas tree farm and spend the next 50 years chopping down your own. Whatever it is, make sure it’s inherently “you” as a couple.
What better way to look at all the blessings in your life than to spend a few hours helping those less fortunate? Pick a day to help out at a soup kitchen and give back to your community. This will allow you both some great perspective on the holiday and you’ll be spreading cheer to those who need it most. You may even meet new friends through your time volunteering. If you can’t lock down a day for you both to head over to the soup kitchen, collect cans and non-perishable food items to take to the food bank. This is a great habit to get into, and if you decide to have kids later on, you’ll be able to easily teach them about generosity.
Spending your first Christmas since you said “I do” should be a time filled with happiness and joy, not stress. Balance your family and friends time with quality one-on-one time with your spouse, personalize your traditions and Christmas decorations, and make memories you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.