Your newlywed Christmas: A few tips on handling family, gift ideas and decorating

Your newlywed Christmas: A few tips on handling family, gift ideas and decorating

As newlyweds, you have a lot of decisions to make. Which one of you will take the lead in paying bills? Will one of you do the cooking, or do you plan to share it? Who takes out the trash? Lots to decide. Then there’s the big one, the first great test of your marriage: with which family do you plan to spend the holidays? That’s one you definitely want to iron out as soon as possible, especially if you were married late in the year. As newlyweds, you’re going to be in high demand among family and friends.

Unless you’re able to split the time, one family is apt to be disappointed. Then there are all the little traditions that every family observes around the holidays, from trimming the tree to watching football. The last thing you want to do is be insensitive or upset anyone, so think through your strategy carefully, be as flexible as you can, and communicate your feelings honestly. And tactfully, of course. 

Be diplomatic

You’ll probably start hearing the question around Halloween: Where are you planning to spend Christmas? Many new couples make the mistake of committing to the first family that raises the issue. It’s natural to want to satisfy their curiosity right away, but hold off. Leave yourself some time to consider it, and be straight with them. It’s okay to say you want to make a decision that works for everyone. For instance, if one of you has to do some work that week, traveling to see family or in laws might not make much sense. Make sure you consider all factors.

Whatever you decide, stick to it and don’t flip-flop. You can always opt for a shorter stay, or decide you’re going to spend some holiday time by yourselves, just being together as a newlywed couple. Remember that it’s about you and your mate, first and foremost. You don’t want to argue and spend the holidays angry and miserable. The good news is that your mom and dad and in laws were newlyweds once, so they should have a sense of what it was like and a little compassion for your dilemma.

Making a Christmas wish list

Once you’ve settled the “where-will-we-spend-Christmas” question, you can move on to more enjoyable pursuits. Which would include putting together a wish list. Since you’re newlyweds, you’ll want something to remind you of how happy you were that first Christmas. How about a personalized ornament or decorative item, something that honors and celebrates you as a new couple. You should also consider gifts that combine fun and practicality in a newlywed kind of way, like a wine and cheese picnic date bag set, with insulation that’ll keep your picnic goodies cold for 18 hours.

It’s a good bet you’re still decorating your new home and filling it with needed items, the kind you probably used to take for granted but now realize you’ve got to acquire. A good set of kitchen knives or dishes is always good idea, or you might ask for some indoor plants to help soften your decor a bit. What about something that’s useful but a little off the beaten path, like a rice cooker or a fondue set?

Your first holiday home

Your first Christmas together should be fun time of creative decorating and self-expression. Save the big-budget decorating ideas for next year. If you’re a couple on a budget, Christmas is the ideal do-it-yourself time. A DIY wreath and Christmas tree ornaments are a good way to spend some time just having fun together and enjoying a holiday you’ll always cherish.

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