Wedding 101

The Newlywed's Guide to Negotiating the Holidays

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The holidays are finally here and you and your partner are likely looking forward to spending time with family and friends. The only trouble is, whose side makes the cut? Whether you're recently engaged or newlyweds, you both probably have different ideas about your plan for how the holiday season is going to play out. Here are a few helpful tips to help keep things merry and bright.

Get on the same page as your partner...STAT.

First things first: COMMUNICATE. Don't just expect that your partner can read your mind. Talk about priorities, traditions, and preferences as early as possible. If Thanksgiving is the most important event for your family, make that known and be willing to concede on another major holiday. Figure out where it's possible to give a little...'tis the season, after all.

Keep your families in the know.

Your friends and family are eager to hear your plans for the holidays because they're looking forward to seeing you, but they also need to figure out their own schedules. Be sure to communicate with anyone extending an invitation as soon as possible. Waiting to RSVP because you can't reach a decision is a surefire way to land on their naughty list. Be open and honest!

Don't play the blame-game.

Once you have made the decision about where to spend the holidays, remember that you've come up with the plan of action TOGETHER. Sure you may not have gotten your way, but it's not fair to put the entire decision on your partner. Don't set him or her up as the bad guy.

Make your partner feel included.

If you decide to spend the holiday with your family and can feel that your partner is a little bummed, sweeten the deal by incorporating some of his or her family's customs. Ask your in-laws for a special recipe you can prepare or get the scoop on another family tradition that'll help your partner feel right at home.

Put your best foot forward.

On the other hand, if you're the one giving a little this year, remember to put on a smile and enjoy the holiday. This isn't a punishment! Take a deep breath and plunge forward into your new life (and new family) together. It's something to celebrate, not complain about.

Have a go at hosting.

Can't seem to find a compromise? Offer to host the holiday yourselves, bringing together both families and the long-loved traditions that come with them! Plus, it's a great time to kick-off some new customs that you can carry through the years as you build your own family.

Stay true to yourself.

If your partner is being stubborn about holiday plans and not leaving room for your preferences, it's okay to put your foot down, even if that means you end up spending the actual holiday apart. If your families live close by, consider splitting your time in the days leading up to the holiday. And, if that's not in the cards, schedule time to see both families in the New Year!

Remember your priorities.

Negotiating the holidays requires patience and careful consideration each and every year. The two of you have created a new family and will need to come together to figure out what works best (in spite of everyone else's opinions and preferences). Stand by your choices, and stand by each other.
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