New love- sigh- a permanent feeling of contentedness and invincibility- like nothing could bring you down from your perfectly happy, “let’s Instagram everything we eat together”, perch in the sky.
That is, unless your new love hovers dangerously close to the holiday season and you realize, rapidly, that you have no idea how to handle the impending festivities and your new love at the same time.
This panic, I believe, is especially true for women in new relationships who are trying to do everything in their power to remain “the aloof, cool girl who doesn’t exude any type of neediness”. That all comes later when we feel secure enough to be as demanding and crazy as we like. Right ladies? Anyway, my point is that new love is awesome because everything is still pressure-free, fun and romantic. You remain an easy-breezy, non-farting, overly-polite version of yourself. And all it takes is one holiday season to mess that all up.
This is because you’re both going to feel a sudden, unspoken pressure to be an official couple. You’ll be expected to know the person well enough to give them a thoughtful gift (read: no Starbucks gift cards ever got anyone laid in the history of ever), invite them to your family dinner (“Janie, this is my Oma. She usually takes out her teeth mid-meal, but isn’t she the cutest?”), and try and gauge whether or not you’re ready to introduce your co-workers to your new plus one (subsequently ending all flirtation with the interns- womp womp).
Fortunately, there are some tricks to avoid bursting the new love bubble. One option is to suggest a romantic holiday dinner for just the two of you, “seeing as you’ll both be so busy with family”. That way you let the other person know you don’t feel it necessary to be introduced to Ma and Pa so soon, but want to make sure you celebrate in some form together. As for the office holiday party, it’s slightly less intense than dinner at Aunt Mildred’s, but you always have the, “we can’t bring guests” excuse if you’re just not sure (or the other person hasn’t invited you to theirs).
Gifts, however, are unavoidable. You have to exchange at least a token, (nothing more than $30, even if you can afford more), otherwise you look like a cheap, inconsiderate shvuntz. And discussing it is a real no-no. That is so awkward; I’m getting awkward just thinking about it (“so, gift-giving….*crickets*”). I suggest spending a couple of weeks prior to the holidays paying attention to your partner’s hobbies, quirky habits and Facebook page. If you end up being the sucker that bought a gift and your partner didn’t, well, at least your Uncle Sam will be in town to take care of matters.