Being apart during the holiday season is the absolute worst. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. This year is different for me: I will be spending Christmas and New Year with my partner in person! I would like to give some tips on how to celebrate the holidays so that nobody feels left out of family traditions or because of them. I will also provide some tips on how to survive the season if you are forced to be apart.
Be considerate of your partner’s traditions
My partner and I do not share the same religion, but both of us celebrate Christmas. So, in a sense we are lucky. You might be in a different situation, and your partner might not share the same views of the world. However, if you are committed to make your relationship work, be considerate. Appreciate and respect each other’s holiday traditions – whether they exist or not. Being considerate means that nobody gets hurt and everyone will have a happy season of celebrations
Take cultural differences into account – Build traditions
Even though my partner and I both come from Western countries, some of our traditions vary. Christmas celebrations in Finland are on the quieter side, whereas I feel like it is a little bit jollier in the States. We also have a completely different Christmas menu in my country. Taking these differences into account and trying to do things from both cultures ensures that you will not argue about missing your mom’s perfect gingerbreads.
If you are celebrating with your partner, make sure that your voice is heard. I suggest letting your partner know what you miss about your culture’s and family’s traditions and asking them if, by any chance, you could include some of these traditions into your holidays together this year. Similarly, if your partner is visiting you, let them know that you are ready to meld traditions. Who knows, maybe you will have a blast making a gingerbread house together or going for a Christmas morning walk! I am most certain that any loving person will take your thoughts and feelings into account!
Send your partner something “Christmassy”!
Obviously, this article will be published too late for this, but for future reference, send your partner a piece of Christmas from your culture! Chocolate is a vital part of my Christmas (and my entire day-to-day life, but let’s not get into that…) so whenever I send my partner his presents, I also include some chocolate and his favorite Finnish treats. Make sure to pack things that travel well. You can get away with sending cookies in a jar, for instance, and they will still be alright to eat once they reach their destination.
Understand the need to spend time with the family
Holidays are all about spending time with one’s family. It is understandable that your partner would like to also spend time with their own family. If you are apart, and don’t have a chance to participate these celebrations, try to understand them and give them the time they need. Make sure that they understand that you want to celebrate with them as well. Try not to bring the jolly mood down by having an argument about either of your time spent with families. Instead, be understanding and allow them the time they need. Trust me, you should get your fair share of time with them as well. Especially with the help of the next tip!
Schedule a Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve date
December is a really busy month for each and every one of us. Planning and scheduling some time together ensures that you stay in contact with each other and neither of you feels left out. Prepare the same meal for each of you to enjoy, or maybe take your date outside and sip coffee together via Skype on your favorite coffee shop. The ideas are endless, but I can guarantee you that it will help you feel closer to your partner. And don’t worry if you can’t fit the date directly on the 25th or 31st of December! It doesn’t matter when you celebrate.
Remember that someday you will be celebrating together in person!
I have been dating my boyfriend since 2013 and this is our first year to be celebrating Christmas together. December is my favorite month, filled with the holidays and my birthday, and I have always felt a certain amount of sadness amidst all the gleeful celebrations. Not being able to celebrate things that carry importance to you can be hard and take its toll, but keep in mind that someday you will be “Christmassing” (or whatever you are celebrating!) with your significant other, in person.
I hope that these tips were helpful and you all are having a great Christmas! May 2017 be plentiful with further blessings