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International Dating | Spending Your First Christmas as a Couple

red socks by the christmas tree
Could your presence alone be the best Christmas gift?

There is something extra magical about spending your first Christmas with your girlfriend. Take your imagination to that day, where everything is so solemn. The faint yet unmistakable sound of carols sung by a choir fills the all so still atmosphere.

Standing across you is the woman you love, smiling back at you. It’s Christmas, and it’s just the two of you. Nothing stands between you but a tiny fluff of mistletoe. For that one moment of the year, everything seems right with the world.

Reflect upon the journey that has gotten you to this point. Not so long ago you were but strangers across oceans. Before you even saw a single strand of her hair, all you had to go by were pictures on the online dating site. Yes, they were gorgeous. But they were nothing compared to the radiant woman that stands before you.

For relatively new couples, every “first” is met with great anticipation. Christmas in itself is one of the most massively anticipated holidays of the year, if not the most anticipated.

When your girlfriend is from a foreign country, it is always wise for you to do a little background check before you go about your usual business. Your first Christmas together might mean something else to her than it does to you, simply by virtue of where she comes from.

So before you start shopping for presents, let us reflect upon what this experience could mean for both of you.

What does Christmas mean for both of you?

Christmas doesn’t ring the same bell for everyone. What could be the most wonderful time of the year for you could be an ordinary Tuesday for someone else. To pre-empt any potential disaster, talk to your girlfriend about it.

There are two layers of meaning that you should hope to uncover. The first is what Christmas means to her culturally, and the second is what it means to her personally.

If she comes from a predominantly Catholic or Christian country like Mexico, Ukraine, or the Philippines, she may take to a deep religious adherence to the holiday.

In the aforementioned former Spanish colonies, they could be serious about attending a week-long series of church masses, which she may want you to participate in.

If she comes from a place like Thailand, for instance, there is around a 95% chance that she celebrates Christmas from a purely commercial perspective.

How she views Christmas on a personal level is a different matter altogether. It could be her favorite time of the year. It could also be the season she would most like to avoid, due perhaps to a past trauma. However she views it, it may be good to do a bit of reconnaissance in the lead up to December.

christmas tree decor surrounded by candles
Learn what Christmas means for your foreign girlfriend.


One thing that’s always tricky for couples is choosing whose place they are going to spend Christmas. It’s not like Valentine’s where it’s just about the two of you. There’s family involved here.

In fact, because you’re dating a foreign woman, you only get to be together one country at a time. Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, she is from Ukraine, and both of you are spending the holidays together in the US. You are going to have to make sure that she is well acquainted with your family beforehand.

You don’t want to give her too much of a psychological burden by having her meet your large family all at once. And we all know you’re not having just one party. You’ll probably have to bring her over to your best friend’s family party, or the community party.

Also, you are going to have to prep your family and friends about her being foreign. You don’t want an overly eager uncle saying something offensive. You want her to feel at home, not feel singled out.

Just make sure things don’t get too overwhelming for her. While things may be serious for the two of you, parading her around town for Christmas is really heavy. She may only just be getting used to the Christmas lights. Only do so if you mean to do it. If not, then you’re going to have to decide to set some of those parties aside for more alone time together.

Christmas Presents

We’ve come to the most important part of Christmas preparation, which is picking out the gift for your loved one. The difficulty of choosing a gift for the girlfriend has plagued men for thousands of years. You need to find the delicate balance between the gift saying too much and not saying enough. You definitely don’t want to give the wrong impression.

Begin by asking yourself what you want your gift to mean. Jewelry is the go-to gift for many men because it represents a promise of commitment. But going too fancy and expensive with the jewelry might put too much pressure on your girlfriend, who may think you’re buying her out.

Getting her a $5 teddy bear, on the other hand, might be a huge downer. That kind of gift says you’re cheap and not even trying. The gift you need to get her all depends on what you know about her and what you want to say to her. That, my friend, is totally up to you.

If she is big on family, like most foreign women are, then you might need to set aside some extra time and cash to get her family gifts. You don’t need to get each of her family members custom gifts, but give them something generic like chocolates, just as a message to say that you care.

ukrainian couple opening a christmas gift
When picking a gift, think about what it should say to your girlfriend.

The first is always a memory.

However you choose to spend your first Christmas together, never lose sight of why you’re celebrating it in the first place. You might be focusing on making the grandest gestures you can, but always remember that the mere fact that you are together matters to her.

So focus on creating memories. Bake gingerbread together. Go ice skating. Look up at the snow as it gently falls. Embrace each other by the fireplace. Those are memories that will stay with you forever.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Just be with each other and let Christmas work its magic.

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