Should You Ask Your Partner To Spend The Holidays With You? Experts Weigh In

If you only started dating someone this year, you may be wondering whether you should ask them to spend the holidays with you or not. While the holiday season can bring you and your partner much closer together, is can also give your relationship some added stress. Since it’s going to be your first holiday season as a couple, you never know which way it’s going to go. With the holidays being right around the corner, it’s about that time to discuss your plans especially if you’re thinking of asking your partner to spend the holidays with you. But is your relationship actually ready for it this year?

“The holidays are stressful for everyone,” Ashley Campana, matchmaker with Lisa Clampitt Matchmaking, tells Bustle. “Multiply that by two people together for the holidays, a dash of family, and a sprinkle of expectations, and it’s a likely scenario that the stress level will be higher than it would be alone.”

There’s no set time frame for how long you should be dating someone before you spend the holidays with them. As dating coach Anna Morgenstern, tells Bustle, “It’s less about how long you’ve been with your partner, and more about how far the relationship has progressed.”

Every relationship moves at its own pace. While inviting your partner to come home for the holidays can seem like a harmless idea, navigating the holiday season in a new relationship can be really challenging. Here are some things you may want to consider first, according to experts.

1. Is Your Partner Ready To Meet Your Family?

Inviting your partner to spend the holidays with you may involve meeting your family for the first time.

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“If you just started dating, the last thing you want is your 92-year-old grandmother asking the both of you when you are getting married and reminding you that by your age, she had already delivered a child,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist who specializes in relationships, tells Bustle. “No new relationship needs that pressure, as much as we love grandma.”

According to her, meeting the family is without a doubt the largest challenge of spending the holidays with a partner. There’s always that stress to impress, which can cause anxiety in the most confident of people. If your holiday tradition includes having a large family gathering or there are major cultural differences, it can be a little overwhelming. You want to make sure that your partner is ready and willing to handle whatever gets thrown their way.

2. Is Traveling In Your Partner’s Budget?

A 2018 Experian survey found that Americans spend an average of $930 on holiday travel. “New relationships walk the line of being new but committed, so holiday traveling can be a challenging aspect because of the expenses,” Hafeez says. Your partner may want to spend the holidays with you, but it’s important to be realistic. According to Hafeez, someone may ask themselves if they can really justify spending hundreds of dollars to travel, especially if the relationship is still pretty new. If you know that your partner is struggling financially, or if they’re saving up to buy something big, you may want to wait until next year.

3. Is Your Relationship Mature Enough?

You don't need to date someone for a long time before asking them to spend the holidays with you.

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There’s no set amount of time you should be dating someone before you decide to take them home for the holidays. Some people know they’re meant to be together after a month, and some people take years to figure that out. According to Hafeez, you can’t measure the maturity of a relationship in days or months. But you can assess it by asking yourself this one question: Am I proud to be with this person? “You can be happy with a new relationship but may not be confident enough to bring your partner around the family,” Hafeez says. When you’re confident in the status of your relationship and you know that your partner is going to stick around when things get tough, you’re ready to spend the holidays together. If not, that’s OK. “It’s completely valid to give yourself more time before bringing your significant other to the family holiday, especially if you have a birthday coming up a few months later,” Hafeez says.

4. Do You See A Future With Your Partner?

It’s nice to have someone you can bring along to your big holiday gathering. But the holiday season can have a way of making new relationships feel like they have to move faster than they’re actually ready for. According to Morgenstern, you should only introduce someone to your family that you truly see a long-term future with. Spending the holidays with someone can be a pretty big deal. “If you’re not completely sure about them, asking them to come home with you will mislead them with your intentions,” Morgenstern says. “Make sure you’re on the same page about your relationship before deciding to spend the holidays together.”

5. What Does Spending The Holidays Together Mean To Your Partner?

Talking about your holiday plans can strengthen your communication skills.

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“Spending the holidays together is generally an intimate activity that communicates you care about someone and intend to deepen the relationship,” marriage counselor Brent Sweitzer, LPC, tells Bustle. “But don’t assume it means the same thing to your partner as it does to you.”

Some people may see this as the next big step in the relationship, and others might see it as just another thing you can do together. It’s important to talk to your partner about your feelings and expectations. It can even open up a discussion about your family’s traditions and unspoken family rules. “This will set in place good communication habits for both of you about expectations (particularly around the holidays), regardless of whether the relationship becomes a fully committed one,” Sweitzer says.

As nice as it would be to spend the holidays with your partner, it’s important to consider if your relationship is actually ready for it first. If you feel like it’s the right time, talk to your partner. Having an open discussion with your partner can help you decide what’s best for your relationship this year.

 

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How To Live Your #bestlife This Holiday Season (While Also Sticking To Your Budget)

I pride myself on being an excellent gift giver, so the holidays are really my time to shine. Maybe my Leo sun is the reason I love finding the right gifts for my friends and family members, but there’s nothing better than hearing, “Wait, this is perfect! How did you think of this?!”

Budgets and high prices rarely stand in my way when I find the one thing that’s just so them (or when that “one thing” is actually two or three things). Unfortunately, that means I tend to overextend myself — financially and emotionally — on my quest to find the ideal present for everyone.

But I’m not the only one who spends a lot toward the end of the year. A recent survey on holiday spending found that in 2018, the average consumer planned to spend nearly $650 on gifts for friends, family, and coworkers for the holidays. No matter if that number feels comfortable or overwhelming for your budget, it’s worth following a few small-but-mighty ways to make sure you’re maintaining your financial health throughout the holiday season.

First Things First: Figure Out Why You’re Spending The Way You Are

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Spending habits can be hard to change. If you’ve always bought a gift for a friend in the past, it’s easy to get caught in a pattern of buying something for them every year, but experts suggest it may be helpful to take a step back and figure out why you’re compelled to buy them anything at all.

“Many of us don’t see our family and friends as often as we’d like (hello, life) and to make up for lost time, we give with tangible things like gifts,” says Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, a licensed master social worker and a financial therapist who helps people understand the psychology behind spending.

So when you’re planning holiday gifts, take time to evaluate who you’re buying for and why they’re on your list. Is it, as Bryan-Podvin suggests, about how you feel giving them a gift? (Um, guilty.) Or is it out of a sense of obligation?

As certified financial planner Liz Frazier says, “You are not Santa. Buy for the people you want to buy for, not because you feel obligated.”

Make Your Budget Your Best Friend

Building a budget can be fairly simple, but you have to be realistic about it — which means setting aside some time to plan it out earlier than December 1. Luckily, having that plan in place could help you avoid some common money mistakes.

According to money coach Emma Leigh Geiser, most money issues can be simplified into two main categories: underestimating and overspending. Many people try to set a budget using “mental math,” says Geiser, but they tend to underestimate how much things will actually add up. Then reality kicks in and they’re hit with sticker shock, and that’s when overspending happens.

To keep your money in a good place, set up your holiday spending plan before you start shopping. Between purchases, you can check in with your budget to make sure you’re staying on a productive track.

Think Outside The Gift-Giving Box

Personally, I make it a point to donate a portion of my holiday spending budget to a local organization that ensures children in their care network have gifts to open on Christmas morning. It’s an important line item in my budget, and I encourage everyone to do something similar around the holidays if you can.

But, as Bryan-Podvin points out, “Nonprofits need funding year-round, not just during the holiday rush.” Consider spacing your contributions out throughout the other 11 months of the year to make budgeting easier.

Plan Your Holiday Travel Sooner Than Later

Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock

For those of us who live far from family, going home for the holidays is often a lot more involved than simply dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh — and it’s usually more costly.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools that can help you find a solid deal on flights, like apps that show you if the most affordable time to book your trip is today, or maybe a couple of weeks from now. You can easily filter by number of stops, airline, and time of day to make sure you’re finding an option that suits your budget and your schedule.

That in mind, sometimes holiday deals book up too quickly for you to actually take advantage of them. If that’s the case, fear not! There are other budget-friendly ways to cash in on some quality time with your loved ones. “See if there is an off-season time you can visit, say for a relative’s big birthday or anniversary,” Bryan-Podvin suggests. “It allows you quality time with less competing demands and often results in cheaper travel. To double-up on this idea, send a holiday card with your tentative travel dates or flight receipt to the person you’ll be visiting. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!”

Try This Tip For Navigating Post-Holiday Sales

Who doesn’t love a sale? Sales are great — if you actually need whatever you’re buying. “Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it,” Frazier says. After all, buying something (even if it’s on sale) is still spending money.

When it comes to spending any money you received over the holidays, Frazier suggests writing down a list of the things you want and need, then shopping the sales with a keen eye on those items only — a strategy that can help you overcome a common pitfall of impulse shopping.

 

 

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Christmas – 2018 and Beyond – Part 5 – Duncan

I’m home.

I’ve an incredible Christmas with my entire family. I’m emotionally spent.

I’m on my laptop writing and watching Christmas shows. Doing what I love doing

I’m sipping vodka club and settling into blissful night of my own satisfaction.

 

It’s 10pm and I’m well into my zone.

My phone rings and it’s Duncan. My very best friend of 20 years who explains that he’s in Old City right now.

I’m half in the bag at this point and can’t believe he’s in the city.

He wants me to come out and hang.

Let’s be clear.

 

If I’m home and done work and don’t have to see anyone or have a date… once I’m home I’m done.

It’s like a vault. Once I’m down to the T-shirt and shorts and slippers there is no turning back.

Ever.

I have said that if Alessandra Ambrosio was knocking at my door to come out and hang I would blow her off.

I love her and have met her, (See: Alessandra Ambrosio) and have the pictures to prove it and I wouldn’t come out.

But I love Duncan and this asshole is some how in the city so I have to do it.

God Dammit.

Ha wants me to come to Amada for free drinks. For fuck’s sake. I don’t care about that. I spent the whole day with my family. I’m tired. There is no way I can come out and hang with you and your girlfriend and cousin.

Why have I not gotten on any notice on this arrival?

 

15 minutes later  I’m in a Lyft and on my way to Amada.

 

For Duncan I’ll do it. We have history. Deep history. I have to see him.

I arrive. It’s great to see him. The last time we were together was when the Eagles won the Superbowl ‘

 

I love Duncan.

 

There is also a welcome addition. His girlfriend Misa.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about her.

I was so happy to meet her, and she is an absolutely lovely person that Duncan should probably marry. That’s how good she was. I thought she’d be like Yoko between John and Paul.

 

But Misa was wonderful. I wish only happiness for these two.

Later that night after I pounded a couple of free Manhattens, I told him that Misa was so amazing he should marry her or I would.

He seemed shocked.

I told him I was drunk and not to try to marry anybody.

 

But I can’t wait to see Duncan in February for the Superbowl.

 

EAGLES ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!

 

We are so going to hang at the Ritz Carlton and sip expensive cocktails and nosh on some savory snacks.

 

I love Duncan and I’m so happy this fucker is still in my life!

 

Happy Holidays, one and all!

 

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Christmas – 2018 and Beyond – Part 4

The kids pick me up and I’m stupid happy to see them. Lorelei’s boyfriend has the coolest car. It’s a black ex-law enforcement vehicle. So it’s a Crown Victoria, Still has the bigger motor, spotlight, the special suspension, and the battering ram on the front.

So technically, he can never be stopped by the cops for ANYTHING.

I love this car and I love the identity tied to it.

They’ve been together for 4 years and everybody loves Liam.  He’s a great guy and if he can put up with my daughter were good. (LOL!)

Oh course we have to stop at Wawa because they need coffee. (These kids and their lack of energy today!)

We drive to Janice’s house and I love that Liam is on point and I literally have to do nothing but provide banter.

It’s so relaxing. Just to be.

 

We figure out parking and all stroll up to the house.

We enter though the garage as everyone does. I decide to make a grand entrance and start with the opening bars of Andy Williams:”The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

My cousin exclaims that’s her favorite holiday song and immediately hugs me.

 

The party is in full swing. I hand Tom his mystery bottle of booze and we scatter to talk and mingle with everyone..

 

I don’t have to get into detail here because that’s our time, but it was amazing to see what’s left of my entire family.

Me and all of my sisters. They’re all amazing women. I love all of my brother in-laws too. The nieces and nephews. My daughter! So good!

 

Janices’s son got engaged to his lovely girlfriend. I adore them both and wish them nothing but health and happiness. (I’m not going to say anything about grandkids, but by writing this I already did!)

 

It was magical day as it always is thanks to Janice who has kept the Christmas candle burning after all of these years.

That event on that Sunday IS my Christmas now. Without that party, Christmas would simply be a day when nothing’s open in Philly to me.

So thank you so much Janice for the incredible party you put together every year for all of us.

It means the world to me and it’s all I have left of anything that resembles the incredible Christmases we all had as kids with mom and dad.

Those memories are locked in home movies but even clearer for me in my own mind. I have all of details right here. More vivid than any 8mm film could tell. Sadly those will go with me when I pass. But… Our Christmases where so epic someone should have made a film about them.

Didn’t Janice get a Volkswagen Rabbit one year? lol!

But all kidding aside, my dad loved Christmas so much. He passed 2 years ago but if he were still around I’m sure mom and dad would love to see that we’re all still together and still celebrating the season.

I thank my sister Janice for keeping that flame still burning.

 

I’ve stuffed my head with tons of food, and they’ve packed tons of cookies and goodies for my trip home, but my ride needs to roll so I have to leave.

I bid farewell to all of my brethren and off we go.

I’m the old guy in the back of the cop car going to the train station.

 

What a great day.

 

Christmas for me is now complete.

I’ve seen everybody in my family and the feeling is pure bliss.

I have a Tupperware container full of cookies baked by my sister April that is the EXACT recipe for my mother’s christmas cookies. They taste exactly like them and every bite brings me back to our time in the kitchen with mom at 312 Magee avenue at christmas with my sisters and my mom.

Every bite is worth s fortune.

Better than money.

 

The kids drop me at the train and the beauty of it all is that it’s perfectly timed.

I love that.

I literally pass my ticket and step on the train.

In 30 minutes I’m back in the majestic bubble of Rittenhouse.

I feel the rush of returning to my sweet city after and incredible day that couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s so good, even I couldn’t have written this level of joy.

 

I get home and settle in.

It’s 6:30pm. I’ll watch some christmas shows and have a cocktail.

A quiet night of love and refection.

 

4 hours later…. my phone rings.

 

WTF?

 

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Christmas 2018 and Beyond – Part 3

The train goes back underground as we enter Camden NJ. That place is a den of scum and villainy that could have been a mini mirror to Philly but has failed in so many horrible ways. I’m actually glad in this moment my internet connection has gone black again as we enter Camden.

I think back on good and bad memories in Camden and will write about them at some point but that time isn’t here.

Camden is an awful place in New Jersey, but at some point I’ll tell you some stories from that once great seaport but for now I’m just passing through.

Happily locked in an extruded aluminum passenger car on PATCO.

 

The train once agin rises from the darkness of Camden’s tunnels and re-enters the sunshine on the this fine sunny day.

I look at all of the scenery and as the train roars east. I see all of the ghettos and shit neighborhoods below the elevated tracks. It hasn’t changed in over 40 years. I’m sitting here in a brand new train in a comfy chair, listening to Howard Stern and Christmas Carols and I’m shooting past absolute poverty below me.

What will Christmas morning be for the children in this neighborhood.

But I’m facing backwards. So I watch it all fall away from my view. By not sitting forward the sadness was never coming up… but going away from me.

See how this is working?

We roll into the Ferry Avenue stop. This is the stop where for years I would pick up and drop off of my daughter with my ex-wife.

I remember I would pick her up there and bring her to Philly when she was younger. But I also remember when I would ride the train with my little one and arrive at Ferry Ave to give her back on Sunday, I knew I wouldn’t see her for two weeks.

I was always sad on that quiet train ride back to Philly.

 

I feel all of that rush back into me but I’m not sad because I know at the end of the line, my daughter and her boyfriend will be picking me up and we’ll all go to Janice’s house for an amazing gathering.

The train rings and surges forward, and I watch as that sad memory fades as well and becomes joy.

Collingswood, Haddonfield, and all of the rest of the stations pass.

I can see my whole history living in New Jersey in my miserable marriage fall away from me. All vanishing down the gleaming rails.

All of it. I’ve lived in several of those towns and it’s good to see them all fall away from me and know that my daughter and I are no longer prisoners to the lie that is a domestic life so many hold dear.

I no longer have any feelings or emotions about any of that nonsense, but it’s nice to see South Jersey simply go away through a window on a train ride.

I could feel the cleanse of that moment and the exuberance of all of the wonderful people I was about to see, and where I was now in my life.

 

I finally arrive in Lindenwold. I don’t know this station. iI don’t care. I get off and head down the escalator and go outside. I’m listening to music and feel really good. The weather is surprisingly mild and I take a seat on a bench outside awaiting the arrival of Lorelei and her boyfriend.

I’m so happy and so filled with holiday bliss and energy I’m not even listening to Christmas music anymore. I’m listening to songs by a Swedish metal band called Angel Dust. I haven’t listened to any of that in 10 years! Maybe longer. I must be drinking deep on my dopamine.

I text my daughter that I have arrived and I think she’s a little stressed as so many young people are. She doesn’t want to keep her dad waiting. I tell her not to worry and to take her time and be safe.

I know this lovely day will unfold as it should.

I sit back on the metal bench and smile.

It’s been a while since  I simply sat in the sun.

I feel it on my face and it is as comforting as my mother’s hand in mine.

I don’t know why, but I was just in such in a beautiful moment of calm sitting on this bench out in the middle of nowhere in a place I’ve never been.

I knew my daughter was coming, but I loved this moment in the morning sunlight by myself.

I felt the sun’s energy on my face. I put out my hand and felt the sun in my hand.

Sun in my hand.

Happiness in my hand.

It’s within me and right here on my face and right here in my hand.

This is my holiday alone moment.

Just waiting but not impatient. Just calm. It’s so nice. It’s never been like this.

Sun in my hand.

No problems. Just Happy Christmas time.

Maybe for the first time ever.

 

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Christmas – 2018 and Beyond – Part 2

I’m happy to see her fade from my view like all of the other beautiful women in my life. Like beautiful Christmas ornaments on the tree of my life. Some are gone. Some fallen and broken, some stolen by guests and strangers.

I had been talking last Sunday about how I had been searching for the Christmas spirit before my sister’s annual holiday party.

All of the Christmas carols, the lights in Rittenhouse, the hustle and bustle of the season. None of it gave me the surge I was expecting.

But if you read that post, (Christmas 2018) you’d know that the holiday season had been in me all along.

What a blissful feeling it is.

My life is so simple and elegant now. I finally get it. You don’t need a bunch of stuff and events to be happy.

Live simply, and simply live.

 

Before the event I stopped at the liquor store. Every year I have a ritual where I present my sister Janice’s husband with a quality bottle of liquor.

I figure, I come into his home, and eat and drink as much as I want and am surrounded with all of my favorite people in the world. So give the guy a good bottle of booze!

I pick it up the night before and settle in at home after work listening to Christmas music and writing. My favorite place to be most evenings.

I’m really looking forward to seeing my whole family tomorrow.

 

The next morning I get up and grab a healthy breakfast. In years past I always had a great deal of anxiety when I had to travel. Just an old ailment. Usually there were several moving parts to traveling to my sister’s party. There would be daughter Lorelei, my then girlfriend Michelle. We had to pull it all together and get to 30th Street Station.

It was always stressful for me. But the end result once we got to my sister’s was always so good.

I had to get all of the tickets at a machine I always struggled with at the station. I would sometimes go out there the day before and buy all of the tickets just to take the edge off.

I always got a large bottle of water and a package of crackers just to put something in my stomach. Just nerves and anxiety and travel.

All of that is long gone.

The plan has changed. NJ Transit is doing track work and not running. (Now what do I do?) I’m not getting any younger, and my lovely daughter Lorelei takes charge and I love it.

I get the text. “Dad. Take the 10:15 train at PATCO and take it to Lindenwold, NJ. You’ll get there a half hour later, and we’ll pick you up in the car and drive you to Janinice’s house.”

I love it.

I’m finally at a point in my life where I don’t have to figure everything out and manage everybody else.

After a nice breakfast, I head to the PATCO station at 16th and Locust. Normally for a solo mission to Absecon NJ on New Jersey Transit it used to run me $40 round trip.

I enter in my coordinates into the ticket purchasing machine at the station and it tells me it will be $6 round trip!

Six bucks! It’s a Christmas miracle!

I grab my ticket and hop on the train.

It’s been a while since I’ve set foot on PATCO. They’ve replaced all of the trains with newer models! Lovely train cars. I step into one of the cars and figure out if I want to sit forward or backward.

I know it may seem odd, but that’s part of the trip.

I go with my instincts and decide to sit at a window seat and actually decide for some unknown reason to sit backwards.

It was a great decision.

I don’t travel much and I don’t know why I chose this. Normally people like to face the way they are going and so do I. That’s just normal existence. Makes sense.

Underground in the subway at 16th and Locust there’s no wifi or cell contact. So I sit in silence waiting to go.

The bell rings and the train lurches forward. I’m just chilling in the darkness thinking about all of the wonderful people I’m going to see this afternoon.

This one day a year.

This one day in time.

A party that someday I will no longer be around to attend. Just like my parents before me.

The train is traveling east and then south. It will leave Philly underground and then rise from the depths of the subway and traverse the Ben Franklin Bridge which crosses the Delaware river into New Jersey.

I always took New Jersey Transit to get to my sister’s house. But like I said,  NJT is having construction done through January, so it’s down. I am taking PATCO for the first time to Lindenwold.

As the train roars up along the side of the Ben Franklin Bridge the view is spectacular. I watch my beloved city stand in the cold winter sun glistening under the blue blue sky on this Sunday before Christmas.

I love her.

I want to die in this city.

I’m happy to see her fade from my view like all of the other beautiful women in my life. Like beautiful Christmas ornaments on the tree of my life. Some are gone. Some fallen and broken, some stolen by guests and strangers.

I know I’ll be back around dusk to see her again. I’ll feel the snap in the air and the flash of her holiday season as her heart beats in every household, restaurant and chest of every Philadelphian in my city.

 

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Nobody Gets the Point of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

“Yea, I get it. If they have a use for you, they’ll accept you.”

Happy Holidays!

http://www.cracked.com/article_26077_nobody-gets-point-rudolph-red-nosed-reindeer.html

 

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