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Every holiday season we get excited about all the beautiful decorations, the family time, the gift giving… only to forget the stress and frustrations that came along with the holidays last year… and every year before that. Christmas can be a turbulent time for many, and while reminding your children that Santa only comes if they’ve been good and using him as a bribery tool (“Santa knows if you don’t brush your teeth properly…”), it doesn’t have quite the same effect on your husband.
During such a hectic time, it can be easy to get cranky and distant from your husband. It feels like you’ve got a million things to do and a million places to be and let’s be real – guys just don’t think the way we do. And while I value my husbands analytical, spreadsheet-loving brain, he just doesn’t understand why forest green is not the same as sage green and no, they cannot go together on the dining table, and yes, there is a difference between those two candles, and no, I can’t just let it go (first world problems… but still…).
While we are constantly being reminded that Christmas is a time for family, and a time for gratitude, it can be easy to miss the messages with all that is going on. So it’s important that you take time to actually stop, focus, and stay connected to your husband this Christmas. There’s a reason why divorce numbers spike in the months after Christmas, so make sure you take the time to make your marriage a priority, regardless of what’s happening around you.
Here are some ways you can stay connected to your husband this Christmas, and (hopefully) avoid getting too stressed in the process.
1 – Do Not Go Shopping Together
I repeat: Do not go shopping together. All you need to do is look around your local shopping mall to see how many arguing couples there are. Christmas shopping + massive crowds + overthinking = recipe for major frustrations.
My husband and I are super chill shoppers – most of the time. He never complains when we go shopping together and is generally happy to just go with the flow. However, when we shop together I feel like I have to hurry because I know he doesn’t like shopping and it makes me stress even more. I do it to myself. Let alone if I had a husband who actually did complain.
So avoid the drama altogether by just not shopping together. It’s just so much easier.
2 – Get Clear On Your Gift Giving Expectations From Each Other
If you’re still playing the game of ‘oh don’t get me anything’ and then getting disappointed when your husband doesn’t get you anything, then you need to stop. You’re a grown woman who can ask for what you want, and not play games to get it. (Harsh, but true).
If you want your husband to surprise you, then tell him so. Be mindful that you might not get a diamond bracelet you’ve been eyeing off, but you’ll get something much nicer – a present your husband took the time to think about and chose for you. It doesn’t matter what it is, this truly is a time when ‘it’s the thought that counts’.
However, if you do want that diamond bracelet, or the latest Apple Watch, or something specific, write a list for your husband of gift ideas and give it to him. If you give him a short list of a few gift ideas then he can still choose something he wants to give you off that list. Win, win.
3 – Schedule In Time Together
It can often feel like you have no time for your own little family because you’re always at events at this time of year. And is it just me or does there seem to always be more birthday parties too?
Whatever your schedule looks like, be sure to block out some time together. It might be that you have to get up half an hour earlier each day so you can sit and have breakfast together and chat, or if you’d prefer, go out for lunch dates or go for a walk together of an evening.
Do what you have to do to make sure you get one on one time with your husband. Keeping the communication happening, and spending time together is a surefire way to stay connected to your husband this Christmas.
4 – Create A Tradition
If you don’t have a tradition of your own yet, create one! There are so many things you can do with your husband or as a family that can be your own little thing you do year after year.
Often traditions happen without you even realising – what have you done in years past that you loved? Can you keep doing it?
It doesn’t have to be lavish or over the top. Our family has watched the same Christmas movie every year (Elf – because it’s the best Christmas movie ever) and when my husband and I first started dating I was excited to bring him in on that tradition. Now, it’s even more exciting as our kids join in too!
Maybe you could go for a walk around your neighbourhood and look at Christmas lights together, or volunteer for the same charity – you can make just about anything a tradition.
5 – Play To Each Of Your Strengths
Does the thought of Christmas shopping make your husband want to rock back and forth in the corner? And the idea of putting up your Christmas tree make you want to throw it all out in the trash? This is the perfect opportunity for you to divide and conquer by playing to your strengths.
I really don’t like setting up decorations and moving furniture and getting things organised like that, but to my husband, it’s a dream task at Christmas. Because there’s a plan, an action and he can tackle it. So I make sure I don’t stress about that and leave it all up to him. That’s in the column of his strengths (and totally not mine) so we play to it.
Christmas gift buying, however, is totally up my alley and I’m all keen to go into beast mode and tackle the Christmas crowds. So that one ends up on my list.
The point is, if there’s a whole heap of things to be done, divide up the tasks by who does what best and you’ll save yourself a whole heap of stress, hassle, and arguments.
6 – Remember You Don’t Have To Do Everything Together
We know this is a busy time of year, but it doesn’t mean you have to do everything and attend every event together. Be sure to give each other a free pass or two and veto an event here and there just so you can give yourself some breathing room.
Is it really a big deal if your husband wants to sit out your best-friends-sisters dress up Christmas party? It doesn’t mean you can’t go. In fact, if you want to go and he doesn’t then go for it! It will probably give you a boost and give him time to recharge too.
Sitting out events doesn’t mean your husband doesn’t want to spend time with you. Talk to him. Often it means that the event isn’t as important to him as it is to you (that’s okay) and that he needs some time out, especially if he is an introvert who literally needs time out to recharge (as opposed to extroverts who often recharge in group environments).
Try planning out your events in advance so you’re on the same page and don’t be offended if one of you asks for some time out. Be open about the reasons why and you’ll avoid disappointments and arguments down the track.
7 – Schedule In Some Time Alone
While it may feel like you have so much to do that you cannot possibly get it all done and take time out for yourself, I promise – time to recharge your batteries is time well spent. And you’ll gain it back in efficiency and mental clarity over the days afterwards.
Time alone to just be away from all the hustle and bustle and to just be by yourself is so important. For both of you. And no, going shopping does not count as time alone.
Schedule in a morning to yourself where your husband and kids go to the park, then make sure to return the gesture and schedule in time for your husband alone too. You’ll both feel far more refreshed for it.
And remember, this isn’t a points scoring game, this isn’t a ‘you get a break when you go to work’ kind of deal. You both need time alone to recharge, no matter what.