Ah, the holidays are here. Christmas trees are up, twinkling lights are on every corner, and people seem to smile more. If you’re madly in love, this is the best time for a relationship because it is undeniably romantic. I mean, even the reindeer were paired off (except of course for our man Rudolph — he wasn’t single for too long though, remember?). If you’re not in love, though, this time of year can often times put unnecessary pressure on a brand new relationship and stress you out if you’re single.
Here are some of our tips for keeping your budding relationship on the nice list this season (and if you’re single, how to not end up tagged in 25 Facebook pictures making out with Santa after too many cocktails at your company party):
As a couple:
Remember that as fun as it is to have a guaranteed plus one for every holiday celebration, your new boyfriend may want a night off. Don’t be afraid to head to a few events solo or with your girlfriends. Stick to picking one to three really important events you want him at and then let him know he’s off the hook when it comes to attending your Aunt Beverly’s cookie decorating extravaganza. He will think you’re the coolest chick ever for not putting up a fuss or making him feel bad for wanting to stay in and just watch TV. It is the season of giving, so give him a break and watch him love you more… hopefully with more presents under the tree.
On the flip side:
What if he asks you to be his date to a ton of parties? Depends on if you have the energy, but I say go to as many as you can and go to the ones that will make you shine as the amazing new girlfriend (like his company party, any family get-together, etc.). These are the times when you will also learn more about your man — from the perspectives of those who love him most. Could be a great way to get to know him better too. Be supportive and center the conversations on him and puff him up to his boss (you’ll be his dream girl by Christmas Eve).
Party of one:
If you are single, get ready to mingle. Don’t sit at home and think about how you wish you had someone special to go to all of the events with. Embrace the fact that you don’t have to worry about taking someone you just started dating to your boss’s annual gift exchange. Not knowing your date very well can turn into a very awkward situation fast — especially if he unexpectedly wears an ugly Christmas sweater (and not to an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party) or starts talking to your coworkers about his beer can collection (oy). Not the way to impress if you’re up for a promotion in the New Year. Stick to bringing a really good guy friend or brave the party on your own and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to coordinate with the babysitter’s schedule. Most importantly, do not drink too much. You might be bumming a little and more inclined to self-medicate with 12 peppermint schnapps, but try to just nurse a glass of wine at your office fete and then just go out with your girlfriends afterward.
As a couple:
The idea of meeting each other’s families over Christmas might come up and you should be prepared. If you’ve only been dating a month or so, don’t even think about it. Too soon and to be honest, neither of your moms will like the idea of someone you’ve known for four weeks passing them the salt or complimenting the tenderness of the ham. But, for those who are in that new-ish, gray area of two to three months, you could go either way. I say let him take the lead on this one, and if he invites you over to have Christmas dinner with his fam, maybe suggest stopping by for dessert instead — you want to be respectful, but still accept his invitation (only if you want to, of course!).
Party of one:
If you’re flying solo this season, the dreaded question over Christmas dinner: “So, are you dating anyone new?” The mashed potatoes just did a flip in your stomach, you start to sweat, and you’re asking people if it’s “hot in here”…My advice? Take a sip of wine, smile, and simply state, “No one really worth talking about, but I’ll keep you posted!” Then just casually change the subject and transition everyone’s eyes off of you and onto your cousin who just got back from studying abroad in Paris, “But I’m sure Jimmy had some luck with the ladies in France, right buddy?” Nice job avoiding. It’s important to go into the big holiday dinner with your family with a positive attitude and forgiving heart. Your Uncle Ted isn’t asking you about your dating life because he’s putting the pressure on you (well at least not on purpose), he just doesn’t really have anything else to talk to you about. So, make it easy on people and try to be charming and focus on the topics you do want to chat about. If that doesn’t work, then again just breathe, take another sip of wine, and smile.
The holidays are whatever you make of them. If your focus is on how much you already have and being grateful for those wonderful people and things in your life, then your season of merriment will be that much merrier. If you’re in a new relationship, try not to get carried away into thinking you have to be an insta-power couple attending every event in town and immediately going into serious mode. Enjoy the newness. Keep it light. If you’re single, focus on your incredible friends and family, step outside yourself and make this season about everyone else, and go to the parties even if you don’t have a date. Who knows? You may just meet someone. It is, in fact, the most wonderful time of the year and with that, comes love, laughter and a lot of luck.