Halloween is the only completely stress-free holiday, in our opinion. No family comes into town to celebrate, so no travel plans have to be made or accommodations booked. You don’t have to sleep in your sibling’s room, so your nana and pop pop can have your bed. You put on a costume, go trick or treating, or to a party, and it’s done and dusted. All fun and zero drama.
But when All Hallows Eve is over, the, uh, more stressful holidays are right around the corner. Here comes Thanksgiving and Christmas—and while we love these festivities, they come with a bunch of stress, especially for couples.
Between finding the perfect gifts, dealing with family dynamics, and trying to keep up with all the holiday traditions, it’s easy to feel like you can’t keep your head above water.
This vortex of holiday stress can sometimes feel like a test for your romantic relationship with back-to-back holidays. But don’t panic and do anything rash, like cancel the holidays like a Grinch. With some patience, understanding, and a dash of effort, you can get through the holiday season as a couple, smoothly, coming out on the other side of Christmas with lots of happy memories and a tighter bond.
We are here to help you eliminate, or at least lessen, holiday stress. Let’s find out how you can tackle common holiday stressors head-on and make this holiday season a lovely experience for you and your partner without a “Bah Humbug” muttered!
Communication is Key
Navigating through the holiday bustle starts with open, honest communication between you and your partner. Here’s how you can foster a dialogue that paves the way for a stress-free holiday season as a couple.
- Open Dialogue: Establish an open line of communication about each other’s expectations, holiday desires, and potential stressors. Try understanding each other’s perspectives and feelings regarding family obligations, spending, and traditions.
- Planning Ahead: Plan your holiday schedule together well in advance. Discuss which events are a priority for each of you and compromise where necessary.
Budgeting and Spending
Financial concerns can escalate holiday stress exponentially—here’s how smart budgeting and thoughtful spending can be your BFFs in maintaining a joyful spirit during the holidays.
- Set a Budget: Money can be a big source of holiday stress, so establish a hard budget for gifts, decorations, and any other holiday expenses to prevent financial strain or disagreements about overspending.
- Creative Gifting: Think about exchanging handmade, thoughtful gifts or skipping presents for each other altogether—we know the latter is less fun, but sometimes it needs to be done. And who doesn’t love a gift made just for them? It’s so much more meaningful and kinder to your bank accounts!
The seemingly never-ending list of holiday to-dos can feel overwhelming. Sharing the responsibilities with your partner can not only lighten the load but also strengthen your relationship.
- Divide and Conquer: Split up any holiday to-do’s based on each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Whether it’s shopping for supplies or gifts, cooking the big feasts or even making a single dish to bring to wherever you are celebrating or decorating, sharing the tasks will significantly reduce the stress so you can actually enjoy the holidays!
Creating New Traditions
Traditions are at the heart of the holiday season—and if you and your partner have different ones, blending them is a great middle ground. Or, you can mix any old traditions and create new ones that will carry on into the future holidays for just the two of you to share!
- Blend Traditions: Merge each of your family traditions or create brand new ones that are unique to you as a couple. This is a fun way to build your own holiday legacy.
When the holiday tornado hits town, keeping a balance between personal time and social engagements is super important. Here’s how you can achieve this delicate balance to keep the holiday cheer alive and kicking.
- Personal Time: Amidst the flurry of social engagements, make sure you both have some personal “us” time to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and decompress.
- Healthy Boundaries: It’s always hard to do this, especially with family, but you should set boundaries with your respective clans and friends to keep your privacy—and sanity—to reduce any potential holiday stress.
The pressure to have a “perfect” holiday (spoiler alert: there is no such thing) gets in the way of actually enjoying the holiday at hand! Practicing mindfulness can help you and your partner truly be present for what should be a joyous holiday season as a couple.
- Stay Present: Enjoy the moment rather than getting caught up in the perceived perfection of holiday festivities. Take the time to appreciate your partner and that you are celebrating it with someone you love and cherish.
- Gratitude: Embrace an attitude of gratitude for the love and companionship you have with your loved one, and let that be the basis of any holiday celebration.
Seeking Support if You Need It
The holiday season can sometimes expose or air out deeper issues or resentments bubbling just below the surface within a romantic relationship. If these boil over, reaching out for professional help or support is a constructive step towards ensuring a happy and stress-free—ok, that doesn’t exist, but less a little less stressful—holiday season.
- Professional Help: If holiday stress is taking a toll on your relationship, consider talking to a relationship counselor to talk out and work through any issues or problems you’re having.
The holiday season is always a bit hectic, especially when you’re dealing with it as a couple. There’s so much shopping to be done, so many family events to attend, and a lot of traditions to keep up with. It can feel like a lot, and it is!
But with some simple, smart planning, honest and open communication, and time set aside for just the two of you to chill and have fun, you and your partner can have less stress and more holiday cheer.
Remember, holidays are supposed to be all about love, laughter, and making happy memories. By undertaking the busy work together, intercepting or getting in front of any possible problems that arise, and not sweating the small stuff, you both can get through the holiday stress and create happy memories that’ll stick around long after Santa has returned to the North Pole. Happy holidays!