Christmas relationship 101: Expectations timeline

Latara Boodie, Youthlink Writer

You know 'tis the season to be jolly when you walk into every store and see a myriad of Christmas decorations everywhere. Yes, it is that time of year again, and you may have a plethora of ideas, hopes and aspirations regarding that special someone in your life for the Christmas season. However, do not jump the gun just yet. Let us take a minute to evaluate the things you should expect, based on how long you have been dating, in our 'expectations timeline'.

6 months

You have been dating this person for less than or just six months. The novelty of the relationship will, naturally, make anyone excited about spending the first Christmas together. However, do not make your expectations too high because, at this stage of your relationship, many things are still due to chance. Anything can happen because you are still learning about this person and family may just be his or her top priority.


1. Remain in contact throughout the season via texts, calls or even Skype, as you may not be able to spend physical time with him or her.
2. Exchange gifts before Christmas.
3. Celebrate Christmas early by going out together.


1. Constantly call or text on Christmas Day. The chances of him/her being surrounded by cousins or aunts that he/she has not seen in months are high. It could be a busy time playing catch-up.
2. Expect an invitation to have dinner with the family. He/She may not be ready to introduce you to everyone as yet.
3. Hope for an extravagant gift. It may not be thoughtful, needed or expensive.

1 year

So, you've made it to one year. Congratulations! You know each other well enough and are familiar with a number of family members and friends. The possibility of being included in family plans during this time of year is medium to high. Out of the honeymoon phase, your expectations should be realistic and in tune with the person.


1. Get a gift for his/her parents.
2. Be more thoughtful in choosing a gift.
3. Start a Christmas tradition together.


1. Expect to attend family gatherings because it has been a year. When the person is ready to introduce you to everyone, he/she will.
2. Decline an invitation to engage with family members if invited to a gathering.
3. Feel nervous around his/her family. Just relax and be yourself.

Over a year

As seasoned veterans and champions of relationships, you know all the ins and outs of each other. You are probably seen as a daughter/son to the parents and have moderate to close ties with siblings and friends. You have 'done' Christmas before and know exactly what to do. Therefore, you probably have no need for further advice.