Holiday Stress

My, oh my. Holiday stress is here!

I always try to finish my Christmas shopping BEFORE Thanksgiving, but since we had kids it hasn’t really happened anymore. In fact, my Christmas shopping has become such a scary thing that I dread it every year.

Well, this year I was determined to get everything under control and enjoy Christmas again. I HAVE TAKEN BACK MY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas can put a huge strain on your relationships when you are stressed, and it usually comes out most to those you hold dearest. Holiday stress can be so bad that you forget the most important person in your life: your partner.

So here are some things we have implemented this year (and some other ideas that can help you as well):

1. Buy Online.
I have done lots of purchasing online this year – more than ever before. It is amazing how much you can get done in just one hour while shopping in front of your computer. No lines, no traffic. Pajamas and hot cocoa. How could shopping get more relaxing than that? Do it with your sweetheart and it becomes fun instead of daunting. (If it becomes stressful for you, just stop and finish it later. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting.) 

2. Don’t Stress Over Gifts.
I have a mother who is very difficult to buy for. I used to spend lots of time worrying and fretting over her gift every year. I have taken things back and exchanged them before the holiday. I have lost sleep thinking about how much she would or wouldn’t like it. In fact, I used to stress over everyone’s gifts. Do you see how silly this was? Giving a gift is a gesture. It’s not the biggest decision of your life. Amazon is great for one stop shopping.

Find a nice gift.

Buy it.

Give it.

Forget about it.

Giving gifts should feel joyful, not stressful.

3. Limit Your Activities.
You DON’T have to accept every invitation that comes your way. Everyone is busy and they understand if you can’t attend some activities. (And if your friend/family member doesn’t understand that, then they are selfish and you shouldn’t care what they think anyway.) That’s my opinion, by the way.

We turned down several activities last year and were much less stressed. That gave us the determination to simplify more this year.

4. Spread Your Activities Out.
My extended family are having a Christmas breakfast the weekend before Christmas this year. Because of this and some other changes we have made, we only have to go one place on Christmas day this year and only have to help prepare one meal. (I can just feel the stress leaving my body when I think about that.) You can celebrate the joys and love of the season on any day and new traditions are just waiting to be discovered.

5. Schedule at Least One Date Night During the Season.
During all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, everyone needs a little R & R. Schedule at least one day or evening that’s just about you as a couple. DO NOT DO ANY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. You can schedule another couple day to do that.

Find something fun to do that encourages physical contact. Go for a walk and hold hands. Take a carriage ride and snuggle up together. The possibilities are endless. Scientists have proven that physical contact lowers stress levels in our bodies, so take advantage of some reconnect time to lower your stress and enhance your relationship at the same time.

Remember, a relationship is like a bank. You have to make deposits if you want to take something out when you need it.

6. Buy Your Partner Something To Spice Up Your Relationship.
Things can get as racy as you want. Girls, if you always sleep in flannel pajamas or sweats, buy yourself something silky to sleep in. Then throw in something silky for your guy, along with some scented candles. Place it all in a nice box or basket and give it to him as an early Christmas present. (Guys can also do this for your girl.)

You would be amazed at how much a small gesture can spark something bigger in your relationship.

I actually made my husband a coupon book a few years ago and it is still his all time favorite present.

Need some more ideas? Here you go:

1. Have a candlelight picnic on your living room floor.

2. Rent a hotel room for one night that has a fireplace and hot tub.

3. Take a thermos of hot coffee or cocoa and drive around looking at Christmas lights.

4. Go see a Christmas movie together after a nice dinner. (Still a classic.)

5. Go to a nice restaurant just for dessert and coffee.

6. Take a hot bubble bath together.

For even more ideas that you can apply now and year round, visit 50 Secrets of Blissful Relationships. This affordable resource by renowned author Michael Webb is packed full of tips and ideas that you can easily integrate into your daily life.

When you read all this, it actually makes Christmas seem fun, huh?

So let’s all make this the happiest, simplest holiday season ever. Don’t allow holiday stress to come into your life this year. It’s your Christmas. Take it back!

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Thanks a bunch!

by Angela Christian Pope @ ModernRelationship.org