'Tis the season for ice skating, mugs of hot chocolate and cuddling up with your loved one next to a warm fire. As new couples enjoy the festivities and overflowing love of the season, it's the perfect time to create new traditions together.
Choosing what to do or where to go for major holidays can put strain on new relationships. "Will we spend Thanksgiving together?" "Will we go to your parents' house for Christmas Eve?" "What about my sister's house for Christmas Day?"
Sometimes the planning process can make the holidays more stressful than celebratory. Starting traditions together is one way to create a sense of unity between you and your partner during the holidays. Below are a few examples of activities you might try with your sweetheart this holiday season.
*Host Your Own Dinner and Get Competitive
When it comes to holidays such as Thanksgiving, families gather from near and far to break bread with one another and chow down on a delicious feast. Do something different this year and challenge everyone to bring a prize-winning side dish or dessert. This is a fun way to get other couples involved, and they can add some fresh flavors to the spread. In addition, if your partner comes from a different cultural background, this will be an opportunity to share something about him or her with your family.
However, if you and your partner are not quite ready to jump right into all of the family festivities, then host a dinner for two or, even better, a dinner with friends. This will allow both of you to collaborate on a menu that reflects family recipes and integrate them into an entirely unique dinner.
*Change Your Perspective
Each year, the holidays generate more music and movies for us to enjoy. However, we will always cherish the stories we grew up knowing and loving. Instead of watching or reading Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" how about listening to it as an audiobook, closing your eyes, and imagining the story from a different perspective? You could also try to see it performed live at a theater near you. Despite many fond memories you no doubt have with such a legendary story, finding a novel way to enjoy it with your partner will allow you to create a special shared memory.
During the holidays, there are plenty of ways to get creative and crafty. For example, you and your partner could make your own Christmas stockings or ornaments. You may have an existing stocking from when you were a child, but you can design a new one individually or together to reflect a new chapter in your lives. It's a great way to get in touch with your creative side and spend time together. To make it even more exciting, swap stockings and craft one based on how you see your partner or based on what you know he or she likes (favorite colors, quotes, etc.). Another great idea is to begin a photo album together. On the first page, write a brief story about how you two met. Archive some of your favorite moments through photos. To make it even more robust, make it a multimedia scrapbook: Add items such as movie tickets and other little knickknacks from your adventures together. This way, you can begin to develop your own family tradition of saving your memories so that one day you can look back and remember all of the happy times.
Honoring family traditions and incorporating fresh ones: It's the perfect way for partners to celebrate each other's values, passions and individuality -- while coming together to build something all their own.