How To Spend Your First Christmas As A Couple

Find a real tree and chop it down with an axe. Find it where there’s snow and sprawl out on the ground to make snow angels. It’s one of the only times you’ll experience something romantic that simultaneously gives you the opportunity to pretend you are a Millennium Falcon passenger during a hyperdrive trip. Thank her for helping you pick the perfect tree, even if it’s not perfect. She’ll know it’s more about getting the tree than a comment on the value of the timber. Show her you can tether it to the roof with adequate knots, even if you’ve never been a sailor or a boy scout. (You need be neither of these — you simply need to be a Google practitioner.) Trim the tree together. Give it a little love.

Shop for your relatives together. Make a big show of separating for a while so you can find her a gift — even if you don’t find something, it’ll show her you’re putting effort into the process. The magic of gift giving can be slightly diminished if the recipient knows that you at least took the effort to put on clothing and leave the apartment to get it.

Get something nice wrapped in a box that makes it impossible to determine what’s inside. Let her shake it if she wants. Make something to go with it — a mixtape, a card, a napkin holder, a necklace made of macaroni, or a plastic model of a French horn you paint blue and hang on her wall. If it comes from your hands, she’ll appreciate it. This was true in grade school, and is true now.

Watch Christmas movies together. Say, “[Girlfriend], you’re such a disease.” Build makeshift booby traps for Santa or burglars. Talk about shooting your eye out. Tell her you’ll give her the moon, so she can swallow it and it’ll dissolve and moonbeams will shoot out of her fingers and her toes and the end of her hair. Ask her if Rusty is still in the Navy. Maybe steal the posterboard move from Love Actually.

Celebrate once with her family. Hug her Mom. Shake hands firmly with her Dad. Bring wine or liquor, but not both. You don’t want to look like an alcoholic. It’s more about the gesture than quantity or quality. Allow her to instruct you on the alcohol purchasing decision. Wear a tie, because it won’t kill you. Make sure you can maintain eye contact, especially with her Dad, even if he looks like he might want to shoot you. Go to church with them if they want you to, even if your celebrations of the holidays are anything but theistic. You don’t necessarily have to participate, and can just sit/ stand there. Many people go to church only on or around the holidays. It’s a thing.

Celebrate once with your family if you’re both comfortable with her coming home to Mom and Dad. Make her feel welcome, and thank her for being the reason your Grandfather no longer starts every single one of your telephone conversations with “Meet any live ones yet?” Apologize to her for his inquiries into her entire life story. If you can, convey this with a look while they’re conversing. This may not be possible, however, because we are not all Ryan Atwood. Words work, too. If your family is old fashioned, set her up in your bedroom. Tuck her into your bed and point out some of the stuff from your childhood, if your Mom hasn’t already turned your former digs into a “craft room.” You always take the couch, or guest room. If part of your gift arsenal is a stuffed animal, this is a great time to present it to her.

Listen to the Bright Eyes’ or Elvis version of “Blue Christmas” one time and one time only. Realize you do not need to listen to depressing holiday music this year. Freak out in a good way.

Just before you go to sleep, alone or with her, feel the happiness that comes with having a significant other at this time of year. Hope holiday season after holiday season is similar to this one. Know that even if they aren’t, you will still have this memory. TC mark

image – Johan Hansson


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  • J. Ky Marsh

    Actually, I think instead, I’ll surround myself with awesome friends and family, having sweet times and feeling the complete absence of stress and annoyance that seems inevitably packaged with a long-term relationship. Thanks for the sentiment, though!

    • Gregory Costa

      I thought family was a synonym for stress and annoyance. 

  • banter

    I love thought catalog, but I don’t think I can read another piece written in second person. Please stop.

  • Sophia

    Oh, I want this. :(

  • llola

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. I really hope this is a joke. If not…sad.

    • Lip

      so you must’ve completely missed the jokes and movie references throughout. you’re comment might be the dumbest thing i’ve ever read.

      • Scott Muska

        So I guess you don’t want to go chop down a tree with me then.

  • Jake

    I usually love the posts here – more often than not they resonate with me in a pretty powerful way. But this was painfully cliched – if you are just yourself, you and your significant other will create great memories at the holiday and year-round. No need to fit a cookie-cutter hallmark movie stereotype.

    • llola

      exactly. way to encourage men to be calculated and disingenuous. every girl’s dream!

  • Anonymous

    “a plastic model of a French horn you paint blue and hang on her wall”I lol’d.

    • llola

      He stole that from How I Met Your Mother…

      • Anonymous

        I know. That’s why I laughed…

  • Lisapk64

    This is great for tv land! In reality my first Christmas with my new love is awkward and stressful because we both have kids and were single parents for so long that are kids are pitching fits. And I had to put a cap on him spending money on me because I have so little this year and I have to get my kids stuff. And buying for others kids ugh yeah reality is this I can’t wait for this nightmare to be over !

  • Samie Rose

    This was cute.

  • Pinup Ghoul

    I love your wry sense of humor, TC . This was hilarious!

  • guest

    There are plenty of great pieces on here that are about break-ups,  depression, hangovers, and suicidal thoughts.  It is very refreshing to read a piece about something warm, and even written by a straight man.  Even if you are not a perfect couple, you are single, or dating several people it is nice to read about a man that seems to be happy and is attempting to be respectful and enjoy the holidays. 

  • Thalia

    gag me with a fucking spoon.

  • macgyver51

    So because this article does not have addictions to prescription meds, lonely depressing silences, extreme pessimism, extreme cynicism, sweaty sex with people you just met, and families that are shattered then its cliched and terrible? Maybe you guys just have cliche lives. Maybe they’re both cliche, but I’d much rather have this one.

    In the end, I think the article was more of a plea to not be so damn self centered for once. No surprise that it bombed.

    • STB

      It bombed because nobody, including you, got that it wasn’t serious.

      • macgyver51

        Don’t be modest, you did! Congrats you!

  • Michael Koh

    i thought of national lampoon’s christmas vacation as soon as i read the first sentence and imagined myself spending christmas with chevy chase

  • Guest

    “Listen to the Bright Eyes’ or Elvis version of “Blue Christmas” one time and one time only. Realize you do not need to listen to depressing holiday music this year. Freak out in a good way.”

  • Tayla FEDERER

    i really enjoyed this article. probably because i’m in love. i feel like all the negative whining comes from single people. 

  • Natt Smith

    Who has to take down the tree?

  • Amorganj

    BAJAJA my FAVOURITE thing about this is the Ryan Atwood comment…. Fantastic <3

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