15 Key Dos and Don’ts for Dating During the Holidays

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It’s the most wonderful time or the year… for dating! The cute outfits you get to wear, the holiday parties, and endless festive activities make this season one of the most romantic. But with the merry can come the scary if you’re worried about making a “holidating” faux pas.

To help make your love life a little smoother and more relaxed this season, be sure to follow these holiday dating dos and don’ts.

DON’T Move Too Fast

If you’re in a brand-new relationship, you might end up being seduced by the holidays, thinking that you should invite your new S.O. to the big family dinner, says dating coach Stacy Karyn. “But instead of giving in, try to think logically. Ask yourself if you’re actually ready to take such a big step, or if it’s just the magic in the air getting you ahead of yourself.”

DO Exchange Small Gifts

Even if you’ve only been dating a few weeks, it’s okay to consider getting him/her a little something, but just make sure not to go overboard. “A holiday gift can send a big message—if you want it to—or simply show that you’re thinking of them. Whether it’s a new or old relationship, a little gift exchanging can always put a little spark in your relationship,” suggests Karyn. Click here for few ideas to get you started.

DON’T Take it Personally

Dating during the holiday season can feel a little tricky, especially if it’s a new relationship. “Some people want to spend more time with families and friends and aren’t ready to introduce you into the mix,” says marriage and family therapist Melissa Divaris Thompson. “Don’t take it personally. Give yourself time and space to connect with your own family and friends.”

MORE: How to Cope with a Breakup During the Holidays

DO Invite Your Date to Events

“If you have an office holiday work party and can invite a date, go for it it!” says Thompson. “Especially if you feel confident they can easily take care of themselves in a crowd and you don’t need to constantly take care of them.” Holiday parties don’t need to be a huge deal, and are generally the more the merrier. But if you’re worried that it’s too soon to introduce this person into the mix of people you work with, listen to your gut.

DON’T Settle

The holidays can be a lonely time for some. “Just because you wish you had someone to spend the holidays with doesn’t mean you need to settle for someone you otherwise would have no interest in just to have someone around,” says relationship therapist Kimberly Hershenson. Keep your options open… especially with all the holiday parties!

DO Attend as Many Holiday Parties as You Can

People are out at night more than ever this time of year… and in good spirits. Even if it means skipping a spin class or having sore feet after a long day, get out of your apartment, put on something sexy, and go to that party! You never know who you’ll meet.

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MORE: The 17 Most Common Mistakes in Relationships

DON’T Overdo the Gifts if You’re a New Couple

Unless you get a sense that this relationship is really heading in a good direction, giving your S.O. something major—like a watch or a pricey designer clothing item—could give them the wrong idea or even scare them away, says Thompson. “Make sure to have a conversation about what you’re both thinking around gift buying, to manage mutual expectations and get on the same page around spending.”

DO Be Confident at Parties

Sometimes attending your partner’s work, family, or friend’s holiday party can be the first time you meet other people in their life. “If you’re joining one of your partner’s holiday parties, do your best to walk in exuding confidence, even if you’re nervous,” says Hershenson. “Showing approachability, friendliness, and interest will create a positive first impression.”

DON’T Skip the Holiday Movies

“Elf,” “The Holiday,” “Bad Santa,” “Love Actually”… There are so many great holiday movies. Who cares if you’ve both got them memorized? Cuddling up with a cozy movie is a free, sexy, and romantic date idea that is just too good to pass up, says Karyn.

DO Act Like Kids and Embrace the Spirit

There are so many fun activities to do this time of the year. “Go ice skating, drink cocoa with whipped cream or eggnog, or bake gingerbread men and decorate them together. The holidays can be really fun, so try and see them through the eyes of a child—it creates awe and romance, says Hershenson.

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DON’T Drink Too Much

Don’t guzzle too much booze while getting into the spirit. Nobody wants to get stuck with the drunken person at the party, so the experts agree—mind your alcohol intake. Make sure to occasionally swap out that holiday punch and eggnog for some Perrier with lime, which looks the same as vodka and soda.

DO Wear Red

Professional matchmakers Jaime Bernstein and Callie Harris say red is one of the best colors to wear in general to catch someone’s eye, but especially during the holidays. “It draws attention, it’s classic, it gives you confidence, and it’s a color people are drawn to. You’ll stand out among all the other black dresses.”

DON’T Overdo Couple/Family Time

Even if your partner likes your family, there’s only so much a person can take, says health and wellness expert Caleb Backe. “Either set a time limit, plan another activity—or a fake one—make a predetermined signal, or something that will give your date a way out without arousing any suspicion or negative talk from the family.”

DO Create Your Own Traditions

Maybe it’s just the two of you seeing “The Nutcracker,” making latkes, or catching the first showing of “A Christmas Story” marathon while baking sugar cookies, make your own special holiday time together. Create your own traditions that you’ll look forward if you find yourselves still together this time next year.

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