• Sunday, 18 December 2016

    Compromising with Partners about Christmas

    Oh dear, this could be a complicated one, couldn't it? Compromising is not my strong suit. It's not something I particularly enjoy and actually the fact that Jay isn't anywhere near as stubborn as me is a good reason as to why our marriage works. Not that we quite have the 'yes, dear' relationship that certain friends of ours like to make out we do.
    But compromising over Christmas can be seriously emotional. Particularly if this is one of your first or early Christmas' together. All of us are attached to our family's version of Christmas. If you've been reading my other Blogmas posts, you'll know that my family's style is chaotic, disorganised and frankly, a bit hectic. My family Christmas' are full of love and spontaneity, passionate discussions (a more diplomatic phrasing for 'tense arguments') and good-natured teasing of one another. Whereas, Jay comes from, what I call, the perfect 'Sunday afternoon' family. They have their Christmas traditions down, they're house is always a calming, pleasant place to be and everyone seems to cook really well, without a political argument going on.

    It's safe to say our two versions of Christmas are quite different.

    This will be our third Christmas that we've spent together. The first year, we were still living in Bournemouth and had Christmas day just the two of us, and came up North to see family at later dates in December. Honestly, that Christmas was possibly the dullest one I've ever had. I mean, there was a niceness to it in some ways, cooking together, watching rubbish TV together, playing Monopoly (Jay wasn't allowed to play this game with me until after we got married...). But to me, Christmas involves noise, chaos and long walks. By about 4pm, we weren't too sure what to do with ourselves. Now that we're back up North and much closer to both our families, who fortunately live 20 minutes from one another, we managed to come up with a reasonably good system for the day, that we intend to repeat this year. With maybe a few tweaks.

    But, long, rambling introduction aside, here are my ideas of how best to compromise over Christmas.

    1. Talk about why certain things are important. Okay, every piece of relationship advice always starts with 'just communicate.' But it's a cliche for a reason. Understanding what are the important things and why they're important to your partner and to you will help you to plan a Christmas schedule that incorporates all of that.

    2. Create your own traditions. If you're going to be missing out on certain family traditions on either side, a good way to avoid sitting around, feeling rubbish about it is the good old method of distraction. Kidding, ish. Creating your own, new traditions will help you to leave certain things that you enjoyed separately and make sure you have something else to look forward to in future years.

    3. Keep family informed. Families get kind of annoyed if they don't know what's going on. Who knew? Once you've made your plans and decisions, let your family know and make sure to keep them updated if anything changes. Your much less likely to change plans once your mother is involved as well, or so I've found.

    4. Alternate yearly. Ah, the classic gem. It's sort of faultless advice really, but can obviously only work if you have some form of long-term commitment in place. I'll let you decide that.

    5. If necessary, do things alone. Guys, just because you're in a relationship, doesn't mean you're attached at the hip. Which I'm sure you're all smart enough to know. I have two very sacred Christmas meet-ups that happen annually with two sets of my best friends, that I'd never dream of  bringing Jay along to. During our first festive period together, I actually traveled the 300 miles home on my own whilst Jay was working to make sure I didn't miss them. Christmas is busy, you don't need to be at everything together.

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