While the “Debbie Downers” of the world will believe that the holiday season is synonymous with breakup season, there are just as many singles who want to rise to the occasion and take their relationship to the next step. So how do you do it?
Step 1: Figure out if you are ready for the next step. If one of you hesitates at the hint of commitment, stop here. Do not pressure someone or feel obligated to be more than you are for the sake of appearances (or avoidance of certain nosy family members’ comments). Continue to date and keep holiday time separate. Check in every once in a while to let them know you are thinking of them.
Step 2: Do your homework and planning pre-holiday season. Don’t wait until two weeks before Thanksgiving to kick things into high gear. If they have never met or spoken to your family and friends, a month or so before November would be a good time to start letting them in. That way, once the holidays are upon you, the pressure of the first introduction is reduced.
Step 3: Create the no-pressure zone. One of the biggest fears that couples face at this time is the pressure (getting the right gift, making a good impression, not saying anything to scare the other away, etc.). It can be quite exhausting. The best thing to do is to just put it all out on the table. Together, come up with a plan to create a no-pressure environment. Decide on gift minimums, come up with code words for requesting a time-out and check in, and remember to have fun with each other!
Step 4: The inner-circle initiation. When the feeling and the moment is right, ask for the commitment. If you have taken steps 1-3, the answer should not be a surprise. Remember that commitment must be in name AND deed. If you have not asked for the commitment and was not accepted, you are not in one. Once accepted, use the rest of the holiday season to enjoy the next stage in your relationship.