This is a solution to the Challenge 17: How to save Xmas when my partner doesn’t like to celebrate it?
Let’s recall your Challenge first:
My partner and I don’t agree on much. Especially about Xmas.
He has a hard time seeing the point of tradition. I, on the other hand, LOVE IT! Or rather I did. Bit by bit I find I’m not looking forward to Xmas anymore. It’s always a struggle.
I’ve suggested compromise and also having Xmas apart. I have 4 kids. Two with him. We’ve been together for 11 years. I need to save Xmas, but I don’t know how.
What would you propose?
Is compromising healthy?
Let’s just start by saying that disagreeing with a partner on things like traditions and customs is not an uncommon challenge. We are all different – we come from different families and backgrounds; and although we may love someone and decide to spend our lives with them, we will sooner or later stumble upon issues like that.
Being in a relationship requires a certain level of a compromise. Some of us compromise too much and end up being unhappy and feeling used. Others, are very protective of their “own way of doing things” and engage themselves in an endless tug of war over every single thing that doesn’t match their expectations.
Spirit of togetherness
I guess it won’t come as a big surprise to you that both of these approaches are unhealthy. There has to be a space for an individual in a couple, yet there also need to be a “spirit of togetherness” that allows us to compromise from time to time. It’s a fine balance, but when it’s achieved, it really is “fine” indeed.
We have 5 Options for you Katie, but today we would like to focus on one of them. It requires a bit of creativity and thoughtfulness but it has a potential to turn back the tide and change the dynamic in your relationship for the better.
Your Options are:
1. Spend Christmas apart (both of you get what you want, but as individuals – not as a couple)
2. Spend Christmas together and force “your way” upon him (you “win” but he may end up either indifferent or unhappy)
3. Spend Christmas together and give up on your traditions (you stay together as a family but your needs and wants are being neglected)
4. Trade (Ask him to do “this one thing for you” and in return offer him participation in something that you don’t like but he loves)
5. Build the bridge (while keeping your traditions, add a spin to your Christmas that he is totally passionate about).
The first four options are quite self-explanatory so we won’t go further into details. Those are all possible solutions (some better than others) yet they all have one central notion in common, and that is “The triumph of individual”. None of these options will satisfy your needs as a couple and although sometimes that is simply not possible, it is still worth to try to find a common way.
Option 5: Build the bridge
That’s why we would like to propose you something a little bit different. Like every single human being your partner has to have some sort of a passion, hobby or an activity that he truly enjoys – how about incorporating it into your Christmas traditions?
Let’s say, he is a big fan of “Star Wars” (who isn’t ;)) – how about organizing “Star Wars theme Christmas dinner” where you can keep all your traditions but add some “Star Wars” elements? Dress Darth Vader as a Christmas tree, use lightsabers instead of knives, serve some “Princes Leila Gingerbread cookies” and invite Luke Skywalker to sit with you at the table (or a cardboard cut-out, if he cannot make it in person ;)).
Ideas are endless! Whatever it is that your partner loves – a sport’s team, a movie, a book, a computer game or an activity – just give it an honest try and figure out how to merge it into your standard Christmas celebrations.
Start your own, unique tradition
Not only you could save the Christmas for the entire family but also start a totally fresh and unique tradition. Trying this approach would also show him how much you care for him. Incorporating something that he’s truly passionate about into your “standard Christmas celebrations” would prove how much you wish him to be a part of it.
And – last but not least – that you want him to enjoy it as well (like seriously, if my partner surprised me with the “Darth Vader” Christmas tree I would literally die and go to heaven immediately! ). Give it a try and Merry Christmas Katie!
Remember to tune in on Tuesday for our “Christmas Special” Podcast Episode “5 Christmas Challenges” where we discuss this and four other challenges in a truly Christmassy spirit!