Stress during the holidays impacts couples and their respective families every year causing difficulties that might be easily avoided if they would use better listening skills. Examples of the types of stress we all face might be: Budgeting for gifts, choosing just the “right” gift, difficult family dynamics, holiday chores and responsibilities and keeping “romance” in the relationship while juggling everything. Here are just a few ways to help reduce the tension we all feel during the Christmas holidays.
Having a budget that you stick to helps to ease the financial stress. This is one of the areas where sitting down together and discussing the amount of money you want to spend per person helps. You may even decide to give a “family gift” like movie tickets or a dinner out at a favorite restaurant. Also, when there is an actual budget, it prevents the impulse buying everyone does at the last minute.
Choosing the “perfect” gift becomes easier if you look throughout the year. There are so many craft shows and fall festivals where you may just spot that unique present. Additionally, listening throughout the year for those special “clues” as to what a person might like to see under the tree makes the gift giving part of Christmas easier.
Family dynamics can be another difficult area. If there is a blended family situation, you don’t want anyone to feel left out. One way to handle this “time management” problem is to get different parts of the family together over several weekends so everyone has “their special time”. It’s really not important that it be on a certain day. Rather, being “together” is the key.
Sometimes holiday chores can seem never-ending creating undo stress for everyone. How about using the “divide and conquer” method by making a “festive get-together” that also involves wrapping gifts or making Christmas cookies?
Finally, staying connected as a couple means taking time for one another. Find those romantic moments by sharing hot chocolate or a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire with just the tree lights on. Spend time talking about memories from past Christmases. Watch a few movies that bring out the “child in you”. Build memories because it is those memories you will have years after the gifts are gone.
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