5 Holiday Traditions For Couples That Are Perfect Even If You Haven't Been Dating That Long

My parents have been married for 30 years. That’s 30 years of holiday traditions, beginning with their wedding anniversary since they selfishly got married on New Year’s Eve. Not to be glum or anything but I don’t know if I’ll ever have a 30th wedding anniversary. My longest relationship lasted about four years and my most recent, a year and a half — which brings me to an important question. Are there holiday traditions for couples who haven’t been dating that long?

Who says holiday traditions are for married couples only? If I catch the cuffing-season fever in the next two weeks, can I convince my new partner to start our very own holiday tradition? Should I? Well, that’s an entirely different issue, but I definitely can.

Starting a holiday tradition with your partner should be a fun and whimsical idea, not something that makes you anxious about the future of your relationship. Particularly if this is the first holiday season you’ll be spending together, coming up with your own holiday traditions is the perfect opportunity to get festive. As long as you don’t try to introduce any new holiday characters, like Ross Geller’s deeply flawed "Holiday Armadillo" on Friends, I think you’ll be fine. Here are five ideas to get you started.

1. Share a holiday dessert.

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I’ve always wanted to recreate that Serendipity moment when Jonathan and Sara share frozen hot chocolate in a tiny cafe in New York City at Christmas time. Of course, it doesn’t have to be frozen hot chocolate or New York City (although I’m not opposed to either). If you and your partner have a favorite restaurant or bakery, make it a tradition to go in during the holidays and order your favorite dessert for two.

2. Watch your favorite holiday movie together.

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Everyone has a list of holiday movies they watch religiously every December but what about one that you and your partner can enjoy together? If you don’t already have a common favorite, treat yourselves to a holiday movie marathon until one of your picks resonates with you and your partner. There are no rules involved. It doesn’t have to be a holiday classic or a well-known favorite. It can just be a holiday movie that was so bad, it made you both cry with laughter. As long as it makes you remember the time you spent together, you’ll be happy to do it again the following year.

3. Set a budget for your couple gifts.

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This is perfect for new couples because it eliminates concerns about how much to spend on your partner’s gift. The idea is to set an intentionally low budget for each other’s holiday gifts — maybe no more than $25 — so that gift-giving becomes more thoughtful and creative.

4. Volunteer together.

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Volunteer opportunities are everywhere during the holidays. You and your partner can sign up for a shift at your local soup kitchen, visit the elderly for an afternoon, or deliver gifts to an orphanage. This is a great way to spend time together while sharing the spirit of the season. Plus, you'll get to see just how compassionate your partner really is.

5. Go to a local holiday-themed event.

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Every year, I find a local Christmas tree-lighting ceremony to attend because there’s nothing I love more than festive lights and decorations. If I’m in a relationship, I’ll ask my partner to tag along and make a date of it. Instead of hibernating indoors, find something festive in your town for you and your partner to attend — maybe it’s a play, a live concert, or even a holiday boat parade (yes, I’ve been to plenty of these). As long as you’re together — and out of the house — you’ll be full of cheer.

Holiday traditions shouldn’t be reserved for families or couples who have been together forever. You and your new partner are entitled to join in the fun too! Think of all the festive things you liked to do before you met your partner and figure out the best way to share some of your favorite holiday traditions with them.

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