As the holidays get into full swing, the atmosphere, the people around us, and the situations we're involved in often become highly charged. Shopping, multiple social engagements and family gatherings on top of our already hectic lives can cause us to be overextended and somewhat stressed. But no matter how stressed we are, one lovely part of the season is holiday dating; when the extra excitement in the air is coupled with the sentimentality and warmth of the holidays, dating can take on a special meaning. With any highly charged situation however, it's good to take a look at what we can do in order to stay balanced and in a healthy choice-making frame of mind.
Holiday Dating Tips
1. Don't rush into mixing family and romance.
The holiday season can cause us to idealize romance, which might put ideas into our heads, like introducing our date to our family before we normally would. Just because you'll be spending time with your family doesn't mean it's a great time for them to meet your date. Putting premature familial pressure on yourself and/or the person you're dating should be avoided unless you're in an already committed relationship.
2. Gift giving.
Let's face it - a lot of us overspend and over-gift in the "spirit" of the holidays. But when you're giving gifts to someone you're casually dating, it's important that the gift reflect the reality of the relationship. Think twice before buying gifts that make serious emotional statements, unless you're prepared for the results. Some people might be scared away if your gift is too extravagant, and some might get the wrong idea of how deeply you're committed based on your gift. Have a simple conversation with each other about whether or not to exchange gifts, and put a monetary limit on it to make it fun.
3. Avoid over-doing it.
Because of the stress involved and the social acceptability of partying during the holidays, it's very common to drink more than we normally would. As we all know, some of our most regrettable decisions have been made under the influence, and holiday dating is no exception. If you must let loose, then do so around family and friends - people you're comfortable with and who know you and love you no matter what you do. Drinking too much alcohol while dating can cause us to say and do things we really wish we hadn't later.
4. Keep expectations reasonable.
Try to remember that you are being inundated by the media and society this time of year. It's important to treat your relationship with respect, and allow it to grow at a speed exclusive of holiday pressure. Don't feel obligated to take your date to your office party for instance, and similarly don't be offended if they don't invite you to theirs. Resist the urge to make a hasty commitment simply because everyone around you seems to already be in one. Enjoy your time with your family and friends, knowing that you can resume your dating life in a less-pressurized atmosphere after the holidays.