They never tell you in the Big Gay Handbook. And frankly they should because I was not expecting it. But it turns out that the first Christmas together is a very interesting relationship test.
I say test but it would be less so if Him Indoors and I were not such total opposites. But one of us (Him) likes Christmas and the other (Me) could quite happily die happy never hearing that ruddy Mariah song or seeing a string of tinsel ever again.
December is the time when I will argue with anyone how Scrooge may have had his faults but was a bit misunderstood. My partner however would be more than content to start playing Christmas music once Halloween is done and dusted and deck the halls with fairy lights not long after.
This has a lead to a couple of tense conversations. Any discussion about the pro and cons of various decorative door wreaths is likely to drive a confirmed Christmas denier like me to the nearest pub. Or at a push one of those local “traditional” festive markets every city now has to have to drink overpriced, lukewarm mulled cider. After paying a hefty deposit for the luxury of drinking it out of one of their cup sof course.
And though I do understand that having a tree in the corner of the room is the bare minimum when it comes to decorations, I would be quite happy with one of the cheap artificial ones from the supermarket that will hopefully last a few years and save the time and effort of dragging a real one home. That’s at least a whole Saturday morning saved right there.
Then there are Christmas cards. No, I don’t have a list of who I want to send them too this year. Or indeed any other year. This is the period when I suddenly decided I am all about the environment, muttering something about saving trees. If only I were quite so Green the remaining eleven months of the year.
Basically the first Christmas together had turned into a handy guide to just how different we are as people. Christmas is the time when my natural grumpiness is most at home because let’s be honest there is just so much to complain about; the expense, the crowds, those godawful novelty jumpers that people will insist on wearing.
Look, I don’t know what I want to eat for dinner tonight and yet my partner expected me to know what I wanted to eat in six weeks time back in mid November? Madness!
But the thing is I am very aware I come over as a bit of a wet blanket. And when I was single it didn’t really matter as I could do as little or as much festive nonsense as I wanted. This year however there is someone else to consider. Having been out with my boyfriend recently and seen the way his face lit up at the sound of a choir singing carols, I suddenly got it; Christmas makes him happy.
And frankly who does not want their significant other to be happy?
So I write this as a Christmas hater in the very early stages of rehab. There could be a relapse anytime but we are working on it. I am never going to be the most naturally festive of people. And anyone who tries to make me wear a Santa Hat may coincidentally have a tragic accident shortly after. But it’s about making the effort.
It turns out the first Christmas together has been a lesson in compromise and being less selfish. Well, except where receiving presents is concerned. That part of it I’ve always been okay with strangely enough.