A new romance is exciting, fun and wistful—but put it to the test with too many high-pressure holiday events, and it may not feel so carefree anymore. Luckily, there are many ways to celebrate the holidays with someone you’re still getting to know and enjoy the bliss of getting into the spirit with someone by your side.
Instead of taking your new S.O. to big family events or your long-standing, best-friend gift swap party, keep it light and fun with these five low-key ideas to celebrate with your S.O.
Bake Christmas Cookies Together
Did you know baking has benefits that include stress relief and helping to communicate feelings? This makes it a great date option for new relationships. Not only is it relatively inexpensive and easy, but you get to spend time together just the two of you, celebrating this magical season. With a fun activity on your hands, you’ll avoid the ‘what should we do now’ questions or awkward silences.
Baking will also let you practice teamwork and cooperation—use this as a chance to see how well you work together. Make it even better by putting your favorite holiday music on in the background. If you both have holiday parties to go to, box up the cookies together, so you can each leave with tasty treats to share with friends and family.
Attend Each Other’s Holiday Office Party
While only 36 percent of employees enjoy their office holiday gatherings, according to an HR study, attendance is usually mandatory. Although potentially boring, office holiday parties are the perfect outing for a new couple. You can test out your relationship, going as each other’s plus one, without the stress of introducing a new S.O. to family or close friends.
Work holiday parties are also the perfect opportunity to be silly and playful together. Embrace goofy traditions like wearing ugly sweaters together—even if it isn’t an official Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. Spencers’ fun 2018 Holidaze survey found that a shocking number of people buy ugly Christmas sweaters every year, and 92 percent of them only spend between $20 and $50. Show your your new S.O. that you like to have fun without breaking the bank and then enjoy drinks and food on the company dime all night long. Talk about low-pressure!
Have a Holiday Movie Marathon
A holiday movie marathon is another low-cost way to celebrate the holidays while also spending valuable one-on-one time with your new S.O. Cuddle up on a cold evening with snacks and some of the classics like Home Alone, Elf and White Christmas. Turn on all the festive decorations, light a few candles and introduce each other to your favorite holiday movies.
If you’re in a new relationship, you’ll likely head to your respective families’ home or different locations for the actual holidays. Use this as a chance to get into the holiday spirit together before you depart.
Volunteer for a Worthy Cause
The holiday season is a perfect time to give back by donating your time to charitable organizations. Take a break from the spending money and do a volunteer date together instead. Volunteer Match is a nationwide website that helps you find local organizations and events. Use it to find a local volunteer opportunity that you both feel passionate about.
You could also spend the afternoon shopping together for a local toy drive, drop off groceries at a food kitchen, or serve at your local food shelf. If you care about giving back to your community, use this as a test to see if your new S.O. feels the same.
Escape the New Year’s Madness with a Night Away
New Year’s Eve is always a primetime date night, especially if you spent the holidays apart with your families. However, it’s also a notoriously expensive, crowded, and hectic evening out—bars have outrageous covers, the cost of Uber rides surge sky high, and restaurants are booked up. Even if you go to a house party at a family or friend’s place, you’ll have to dodge questions about your new boo, not too mention kiss each other in front of a crowd at midnight.
Escaping the NYE craziness can be the perfect opportunity for the first night away as a new couple. Book an affordable Airbnb or hotel room with just the two of you. Choose to dress it up or down, and share some champagne with a low-key and romantic evening ringing in the New Year together.
Enjoy the Season—and Your New Relationship
The holidays are a magical time to get to know your new S.O., but avoid the high-pressure family situations this year. Instead, find ways to celebrate together with low-key events, like your company party or a movie marathon. You’ll get to know one another without answering questions from your Great Aunt Mildred or smooching in front of a crowd at midnight, making it even more special.