Every family has their holiday traditions, from Turkey Trotting on Thanksgiving morning to sipping egg nog and baking cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. These are the things you’ve done since you were young and you probably can’t imagine a holiday season without each and every family tradition. But now you’ve found someone you want to spend the rest of your life with who has their own holiday traditions. How do you balance the two?

This is a problem many couples experience every year and it can be a difficult one. Emotions are already escalated during the holidays and then you add changing your traditions and it makes the situation all the more difficult. Well don’t you worry! We’re sharing our top tips for celebrating the holidays with a new fiancé, balancing both of your family obligations, and creating your own traditions you both love.

Tip #1 – Talk about it // Before you share your holiday plans and expectations with family members, talk to each other first. Come up with a plan for the holiday seasons that you both agree to, then share the details with family members. For example, decide if you’re going to split the holidays spending Thanksgiving with one and Christmas with another (alternating every year of course) or try to hit both families on each holiday. There is no right way or wrong way here, it’s just about finding a balance you both can agree on and not letting others influence your decision.

Tip #2 – Create your own traditions over time // Creating your own traditions and figuring out how you’re going to celebrate the holidays every year doesn’t happen overnight or even in one holiday season. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start finding your own way now. Talk about each of your favorite traditions from childhood and find a way to incorporate a few of them into your new joint traditions. Also, look for new ways to enjoy the season doing the things you already love to do together. For example, if you like to entertain, start hosting an annual holiday party.

Tip #3 – Split family time evenly // Not only is it difficult for you to celebrate the holidays away from your family for the first time, it’s not easy for your family either. Keep it fair by spending an equal amount of time with each.

Tip #4 – Be open to trying new things // This tip applies not only to life but the holidays. When it comes to navigating the roads of celebrating the holidays together, try each families traditions first before making your decision on joint traditions and future holiday plans. For all you know your significant other’s way of celebrating may be just what yours has been missing for all these years!

Tip #5 – Be respectful of your significant other’s wishes // This can be the hardest tip to follow but it’s the most important in terms of creating a holiday plan you both enjoy. If your S.O. isn’t a fan of one of your traditions and prefers not to do it, be respectful of that. Additionally, if that same tradition is incredibly important to you, consider enjoying it without your S.O. For example, when Rob and I first started living together, I wanted so bad for him to decorate the house with me for the holidays. However much to my surprise, he hates decorating. He likes when they’re up but hates the process. At first, I was upset. Now, it’s become one of my favorite traditions. We shop for the tree together and Rob gets in in the stand, in the house, and screwed in straight. After that, he pours us each a glass of spiked egg nog, I take to decorating and he sits with me while I do.  Call it weird but it works for us, mainly because we are both respectful of the other’s wishes.

What’s tips do you have for any couples spending the holidays together for the first time?

7 tips for spending your first holiday with your new fiancé or spouce