Inevitably, it happens every year. You always plan on starting sooner with decorating, shopping, and everything else, but time just gets away from you. There is just too much to do and not enough time in the day to do regular stuff PLUS holiday stuff. In between going to work and school, you have to fit everything else in. Send out cards. Get ready for your work Christmas party. Figure out how to pay for all the presents and food.
You have what we call holiday drama and stress
Don’t forget the neighbor gifts. And teacher gifts. What about a little something for the boss? And donations to all the charities? Go pick out a Christmas tree. The list goes on and on. It can get so overwhelming, some may want to forget it altogether.
In the book Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham—which the movie Christmas with the Kranks is based one—one couple actually try to skip Christmas. Instead of the stress and drama, they just want to go on a cruise. But something ruins their plans.
Along the way, the whole ordeal causes a lot of strife between the husband and wife. Do you do this, too? When the holidays come, do you find that you and your spouse are more stressed? Do you argue over money or family more? Do you have certain expectations or traditions that aren’t met? It’s time to take a little time to focus on your marriage during one of the busiest times of year.
Here are some tips on how to protect your marriage from holiday drama and stress:
- Simplify: Don’t try to do everything this year. As a couple, sit down and each of you list the top 5 traditions you want to do over the holidays. Those things could include driving around looking at Christmas lights, attending your child’s holiday concert, etc.
- Remember to have a date night: Do something, just the two of you. Leave the hustle and bustle behind and have some fun together.
- Deal with family gracefully: Holidays means family, and sometimes families don’t get along. Do what you can to accommodate the celebration by downplaying disagreements. Sometimes that could mean staying in a hotel or altering how you celebrate. What’s important is making happy memories.
- Keep playing music: Music reduces stress, and Christmas music can really lift your spirits. Make a playlist together and have fun singing along while you wrap gifts and bake cookies.