When you get involved in a serious relationship, one thing you learn to do quickly is to compromise, whether that be on meals, movies or the kind of music to put on.
Itís never as easy as we make it out to be. Thereíll be TV shows we hate but will tolerate because we just made our boyfriend watch three episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, but what about when it comes to something not so superficial?
What about something like tradition?
For me, Christmas is huge. From when I was little until now at the age of 29, thereís no time of year I love more than Christmas. I decorate early, blast Christmas music and bake insane amounts of Christmas cookies. No one is quicker at whipping up a cracker/cheese/sausage/pickle platter than I am. I can get borderline Martha Stewart when it comes to the holidays, and I was always single long enough where itís always been my way and thereís no one to tell me otherwise.
Throw a boyfriend and his traditions into the mix and thatís like throwing a giant candy cane into the spokes of my Christmas wagon.
How do you compromise on something youíve been doing for over 20 years that doesnít need tweaking (or you donít WANT tweaking)? There are many things Iím willing to compromise on in a relationship, like sharing the remote, but I swear to God, if my boyfriend hadíve changed ANYTHING to my Christmas tree while I was decorating it, I probably wouldíve tackled him to the ground.
Luckily he seemed to be able to read this like some spidey-sense he has going on, and he stayed back and let me do my thing.
But then I thought about it Ė if a tree is something youíre supposed to decorate together, how will I ever step back from my deeply engrained Christmas traditions enough to let him share his? Is there always room for compromise in a relationship, or will we have to have two trees every Christmas?
Obviously thatís not going to work.
If what youíre compromising on is something simple like not putting coconut on your shortbread cookies, thatís simple, same with decorating. You just have to get over your stubborn, OCD ways for a little while and let your boyfriend or girlfriend put that ugly tinsel on the tree or have the last chocolate-covered cherry in the box of chocolates. Thatís part of the deal with relationships, unfortunately Ė itís either that or stay single and have your way every year.
But there are also big things, BIG issues, like whose family to visit during the holidays that year or whether or not you agree on telling your kids Santa is real. These are some of the things you have to have a serious conversation about, like an international diplomatic mission. Some couples are going to have major discrepancies about tradition in many aspects of life, especially if two different religions are involved (I donít even want to imagine), but if you want to make it work and you both want to enjoy the holidays, you better come to some sort of agreement.
If youíre the pushy, demanding one in the relationship, bite your tongue and let your partner have some even ground, even if itís always been easy to get your way. If you donít do this, your partner will (likely quietly) have a miserable Christmas and could even begin to resent you year after year.
If youíre the quiet one who lets your partner get away with things all the time, speak up about your feelings and how you want things. It may be uncomfortable for you, but itís almost your own fault if you donít say something and you let your partner run the roost. Itís hard to feel sorry for you if you lay on the ground like a floor mat every Christmas.
If youíre both stubborn, demanding people, stop talking over each other for a few moments and have an adult conversation. Listen and put yourself in the otherís shoes.
I have a funny feeling that this kind of compromise is what creates new holiday traditions passed on from generation to generation. So while it may feel like youíre giving up on some things to make your partner happy at Christmas, youíre possibly giving something positive in return, like tradition to your (future) kids.
Itís kind of nice to think of it that way.
Oh, and a simple tip: if you both like the chocolate-covered cherries in the box of chocolates, next time youíre out pick up a box of Lowneys. Problem solved.