One of the most fun times of the year to be a married couple is during the holidays. However, it can also be the most challenging time. Husbands and wives grow up with different families and had different traditions, and often this creates conflict about how holidays should be celebrated. My husband grew up in Tennessee where Christmas has the possibility of a little snow, and I grew up in California where winter really isn't much different than any other season. Needless to say our holiday experiences were a little different. While we both felt the traditions our families held growing up were imporant, once we were married we had to learn how to blend those holiday traditions. Here are a few ways we discovered to do that.
Communicate before November and December roll around about what is important to you. Does your family throw a big Thanksgiving party and have a more low-key Christmas? Maybe then it is more important for you to spend time with your family for Thanksgiving and you can agree to spend Christmas with your spouses' family. Did you grow up opening gifts on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas morning? Perhaps then that day is more important to you to be with your family. Growing up my mom always gave me PJs on Christmas Eve and we opened presents on Christmas Day. I shared with my husband that her tradition was one that was important to me and now we plan to continue it. No matter what the traditions were that you had growing up, some were more special or important than others. Communicate what is important to you to your spouse so that you both can agree where it will be easier to compromise.
Once you both have discussed what is more important and less important to both of you, agree on some compromises. If you're used to opening gifts on Christmas Eve and your spouse wants to open them on Christmas day, agree to open one gift on Christmas Eve and then rest on Christmas morning. If your spouse is used to staying in PJs all day on Christmas, and you are used to dressing up, agree to have a relaxing morning but be dress up for Christmas Dinner.
Learn Something New
Perhaps your spouse is used to enjoying a favorite recipe for Christmas dinner or likes to have the tree decorated a certain way. If you know that tradition is important to them, learn how to incorporate them into your future Christmas traditions. Ask for that family recipe or have your spouse show you the way they used to string popcorn on the tree. Last year, my husband mentioned that his mom used to cook sausage balls for Christmas breakfast. I personally had no idea what sausage balls were, but I agreed to cook them because I knew that tradition was important to him. I was still learning my cooking skills (let's be real, I'm still learning) so I'm sure they didn't compare to how his mother used to make them, but I tried to recreate them for him. Take this time to learn about how they grew up and share in some of their favorite memories. Make sure to also teach them something about the way your family did Christmas as well.
Make New Traditions
Come up with something fun that is all your own. Maybe you start a tradition of ice skating on Christmas Day or going to the movie theater. Think of something neither one of you did growing up that you want to continue doing when you have children. My husband and I have a tradition of going to see the Christmas decorations at Opryland hotel and then going through the ice sculpture exhibit they have. It's not something either of us did growing up, but we have made it our own tradition.
Have Fun Together
Most of all, the holidays are about being with the people you love and enjoying each other's company. No matter what you decide to do to celebrate, make sure that you are having fun and loving one another.