How to Handle the Holidays After Marriage

A couple embracing in the snow

When you get married you merge everything, including holidays. You already know how complicated your holiday traditions are on your own, imagine adopting your partner’s as well. Some couples struggle when it comes to the holidays. Maybe you have different religions or ideas about how holidays should be spent. Maybe one of you likes to go all out for the holidays and the other is a bit of a Scrooge. No matter what, you’re going to need to make adjustments for everything to flow together seamlessly. Let’s talk about all the different ways you can make the holidays great as a married couple.


One of the biggest sticking points when it comes to holidays together is traditions. You may both have done things one way your whole life and don’t want to change. This gets even more complicated if you are from different religious backgrounds. How do you make these traditions come together? Compromise and plan ahead. Make sure at some point to sit down with your partner and discuss how you’ll merge your traditions. This includes deciding which traditions you can and can’t budge on. Likely there won’t be time for everything. Try to be open to sharing in your partners most treasured traditions. This can be a great way to feel close as a couple too so it’s a win-win.

Speaking of closeness during the holidays, make sure you plan for new traditions. The best way for both of you to feel represented at the holidays is to make your own special traditions that only you share. This is an important part of bonding as a married couple that is easy to skip over. When all the craziness of the holidays comes up, make it your goal to do the traditions you’ve created together. These should be the most important of all.

Couple setting up dinner and christmas tree

Splitting Time

While your traditions are merging together, the time you spend at each event must be split. Hopefully you’ve already been practicing this as a couple. If not, you’ve got some schedule juggling ahead of you. Luckily, most couples go through this exact same thing so most families are used to it. Try to split your time as judiciously as you can and apologize to any grandmas that are upset you’re leaving early. It can be worse than missing Grandma’s pumpkin pie: splitting time too generously could mean a crazy schedule that leaves you and your partner begging for a break. Be sure to leave time for yourselves so you don’t go insane. And maybe leave some room in the schedule to catch up on those last minute gifts you forgot.

Holiday Photos

What about family photos? You’re a couple now, aren’t holiday cards a necessity? Not necessarily. You may have the urge to do these kinds of extra holiday things, but the cost can add up. When it comes to holiday cards, you can get away with not sending any out, especially if you don’t have kids yet. Decide together whether you want these photos to be a part of your family holiday tradition or not. Every moment and dollar spent at the holidays is precious. You want to be sure you’re spending your money and time on things that are essential. This is especially true in the first few years of your marriage. At the beginning you’re just trying to get through the holidays happy. Make that your concentration and do these extras if you have the required time and energy.

Lit menorah and jelly doughnuts

Assigning Responsibilities

Like any big event it’s important to know who’s doing what. If one partner finds they’re doing all the work, a big blow up is not far behind. Know all the things on the to-do list and decide who’s doing what. Find things that make more sense for you to do versus your partner, and vice versa. By delegating some of the essential tasks, the holiday starts to feel more shared. Teamwork really does make the holiday dream work.

Silver and Gold

How much are you spending on gifts? What about decorations? Are you serving dinner? If so, what about food costs? These questions may be giving you the stress sweats, but they are crucial. You need to know what you’ll need and how much is feasible for you and your partner to spend. The worst that can happen is you running out of expendable income. Everyone knows the holidays are expensive. As long as your holiday plan is not out of the realm of possibility, you’ll be okay. To know where this line is, you have to budget. Sit down and actually try to figure out exactly how much you can spend on what. Try to keep each other accountable as those holiday sales can be very tempting. Leave a little room in the budget for these extras too as one of you is likely to slip up at some point.

Finding the time to plan can be tough, but if you do your reward is a less stressful holiday. This kind of peace is priceless and isn’t peace an important holiday ideal? Make the time for yourselves as a couple to build the holidays in a way that makes everyone happy.

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