Young couples, you must begin making your own Christmas traditions. Yes, must. Now.
You might think it’s not important yet because you don’t have kids of your own. And until you do, you can simply bounce between your parents and in-laws – observing the Christmas traditions you and your spouse grew up with. But that’s not a great plan. Let me tell you why.
Why You Need Your Own Christmas Traditions
If you want your marriage to be a permanent, life-long arrangement, you need to cement the bond between you and your spouse from the beginning. Don’t put it off. Don’t begin your marriage as simply extensions of the life your parents created for you as children. Because if you do, it’s too easy to go back to those lives when times get tough.Don’t begin your marriage as simply extensions of the life your parents created for you as children. Click To Tweet
Furthermore, couples who haven’t created their own bond as a family often think having a baby will be the cement it needs. But that’s an unfair responsibility to saddle a newborn with. Besides, babies are notoriously self-centered. They don’t appreciate such expectations. So work to cement your own little family before they arrive. If they arrive.
I’m not saying don’t participate at all in the comfortable traditions of your childhood with your parents. I’m saying make sure you have a tradition as a couple that comes before all else. This prioritization of your new family is one step toward a cemented marriage. Although it might make a plot line for a Hallmark movie, a Christmas tradition alone is not enough to make a marriage able to endure the inevitable storms life brings. But added to other commitments, it can help build a solid foundation of “us”.
So here are some suggestions to inspire your own Christmas traditions.
10 Budget-Conscious Christmas Traditions For Young Couples
Organize a pot-luck dinner for friends. Holidays are generally focused on family, not friends. So start a holiday tradition that’s all about the people you love who aren’t related by blood or marriage. A pot-luck meal shares the expense and preparation. Include a white elephant gift (nothing purchased – something the giver owns but doesn’t want) exchange for extra fun.
Go window shopping at the mall. Malls go to a LOT of trouble to create a Christmas-y atmosphere. Point out gifts you would like yourself or that you would buy your spouse if money were no object. You’ll learn a lot about each other’s tastes. Only actually purchase something edible to share before heading home.
Attend your town’s Christmas tree lighting. Bring mugs, marshmallows, and a thermos of hot chocolate. You’re adults now. Be part of your community.
Make a gingerbread house. Put your Christmas playlist on and get to work on this learn-to-work-together project. Learn who’s the perfectionist, who’s the designer, and who wants to eat the candy before it’s applied to the house. Someday you’ll do a home-improvement project together. This is practice for that.
Make a fun evening out of a holiday chore. Put on your Christmas playlist (again, with the playlist!) and do all your gift wrapping together so someone doesn’t end up doing it all. Add some anticipation to the evening by establishing an ethnic food as an integral part of the tradition. Presents and pizza, or presents and pierogies. Whatever.
Do something for someone with less than you have. Make a gift bag for a homeless person and cruise till you spot them. (Note: Don’t go creeping up under overpasses. Be safe. Look for someone out in public and in broad daylight.) Here’s a whole post of what inexpensive items you might include.
Go shopping at a large chain craft store for a new Christmas ornament. The craft stores have the largest selection of ornaments and you can always download a 40% off coupon. Decide together on an ornament that is particularly meaningful for you as a couple.
Attend a Christmas Eve church service. Attending church, first as a couple and later with kiddos, is probably the most important thing you can do to cement your bond as a new bride and groom. Marriage is hard because you’re both sinners. And going to church on Christmas Eve and Easter isn’t enough to help you through. So join a solid, Scripture-teaching church. (I recommend finding one near you at this church search site.)
Spend a pre-Christmas evening with grandparents. End-run around the ‘rents and bring a pot of hot soup, a loaf of crusty bread, and a plate of cookies to granny and gramps. Eat with them and have good conversation. They’ll be so delighted they’ll brag about it to all their friends for weeks. This tradition will pass when they do, but you’ll have made wonderful memories together.
Spend an hour in a barn. (Ok, window shopping at the mall for was city and suburb dwellers. This idea is practical for country folk.) Bring a blanket out to a working barn and be still. Take in the sights through the dust, sounds of the animals, and smells of the same. Contemplate that the Son of God, Maker of the Universe would arrive in a place like this. Be amazed. And be grateful for the gospel.