“Plan” for Your Relationship to Survive and Thrive During the Holidays

Will your relationship with your partner, husband or wife just “endure” through the holidays or will it thrive?


I know. You’re thinking, “Are you serious? With all I have to do – shopping, cooking, wrapping gifts, sending cards, baking cookies, decorating?” During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s pretty common to forget about doing anything for yourself, let alone for your relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in the demands and tumult of the holiday season and put your relationship on the back burner. But with just a small amount of planning your relationship will not only survive the holidays but will prosper.


Here’s how to ensure your relationship will thrive through the holiday season:

1) Create a list of all the holiday tasks that must be done to get a handle on them.

  • Buying gifts
  • Shopping
  • Cooking/Baking
  • Sending holiday cards
  • Decorating the house

Many people feel they are too busy to plan and organize this month and yet this is precisely the time where planning and organizing is more critical than ever.

2) Schedule the tasks in your calendar.

Break each large activity into small chunks and pick times to accomplish them. Since we can’t predict what may come up and since we often underestimate the time activities will take (I am the worst offender of this), build in several extra blocks of time so you have some breathing room.

3) With whatever small chunks of time are left, plan a few quick “Holi-Dates” during this month with your partner.

“Holi-Date” – A short, sweet date with your partner in December designed to revitalize you, your mate and your connection.


“Holi-Dates” will keep your fires burning, maintain your bond and recharge your batteries. Carve out small pockets of time for you and your partner to share some moments together – either staying at home or going out. Some of our favorite “Holi-Dates” are: a short shopping trip with a stop in Victoria’s Secret, meeting during the day for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, bundling up and going out for a walk, ice skating, seeing the holiday trains, driving through the Symphony of Lights.

4) Consciously pause for just a moment twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, to connect with each other and say something loving or tell each other what you are grateful for.

Taking these few steps to nurture and feed your relationship and continuing to communicate will ensure that your relationship will stay united and warm through the holidays so that you will have a wonderful holiday season and New Year’s celebration together.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

© Copyright 2010 by By Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • kirsty

    December 9th, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Lori, I really liked your article. The Holi-Dates suggestion is fantastic. I get so embroiled in gift buying and planning I feel I can’t call a moment in December my own! That would be lovely to simply stop and appreciate spending time together.

  • Leo

    December 9th, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    I can take a hint. I’d enjoy those Holi-Dates too! I’ll offer to help this year and give my wife a break. Oh, and if she faints, it’s all your fault, Lori. ;) Merry Christmas.

  • Oona

    December 9th, 2010 at 10:59 PM

    Lori, thanks for sharing. I am a very expressive person and could connect like that twice a day no problem. My husband on the other hand would find that very challenging. Is it better that I go ahead and do it anyway or not at all? He’s uncomfortable with expressing love verbally. I have no doubt he loves me though. :) I just don’t want the connection to feel one-sided.

  • Glory

    December 9th, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    great suggestions, thank you!

  • Sally

    December 10th, 2010 at 5:37 AM

    If you do not have a strong relationship to begin with then I can easily see how the stresses of the holidays could put a real drain on a couple and drive a wedge between them. But that right there should be the answer. Should we allow the stress that comes around this time of year to even creep into our lives? No. It takes away the very elements that are supposed to make the holidays so wonderful and meaningful and special. People start doing things for the wrong reasons and becomes more about being a show instead of doing the things that it is supposed to be about in the first place. Don’t let stress ruin what is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

  • jacob n

    December 10th, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    you are so right!all the work and interaction with friends and family does not allow us to concentrate on our own selves and our relationship.also the holiday season may trigger off a fight between you and your partner if you both do not agree upon something or if one of you dislikes another’s friend or family visiting you!there is so much that can go wrong in the holiday season!

  • Matthew

    December 10th, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Every year I dread sitting down and writing all those Christmas cards and once I quit procrastinating, I actually enjoy it. I think it’s because I’m doing a mundane task and just sitting on the sofa. It’s less demanding than the bulk of Christmas activities. Christmas stress is what you make it.

  • Nathan

    December 10th, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    I don’t know why women freak out about Christmas. My mother did it, and her mother before her, and when I got married I found my wife was like that too! It’s doesn’t need to be the big deal that you make it. As long as all our loved ones can get together and celebrate, that’s all I care about. I sure don’t need any more socks, ha!

  • helena

    December 10th, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    I’ll share a suggestion that’s been a boon to me this year and last. Online shopping! You don’t have to fight the crowds, it’s all delivered to your door and you can get other family members to help you pick out gifts. I designated my husband and son a few each last year to select and they chose better than I would have.

    Do be quick if you want to try it. Delivery dates are getting smaller for Christmas delivery. I can get done in two hours at my desk what would take me twelve if I had to go out and face the long trip to the mall plus the crowds.

  • Judith

    December 10th, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    I second that emotion, helena! Stick with reputable retailers and it’s a breeze. Several high street stores offer the same stuff online anyway, so why queue? They also have online only deals and nearly all have free shipping with no min. purchase this year. I’m a big fan!

    Thanks Lori for a very good article and particularly the reminder to be consciously loving too. I needed that. :)

  • Ross

    December 11th, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    I’m not looking forward to Christmas. My partner and I are on the rocks and all that happy families stuff everywhere you turn amplifies that. I can hardly watch TV. Every ad is like another dig in my heart at what great families have that we don’t. I can’t take much more of the good cheer and the ho-ho-ho’s. The best I’m hoping for is to get through those 24 hours without arguments.

  • Katie

    December 11th, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    We wives fall into the trap of thinking we need to go it alone for everything to work out right. We don’t! What we need to do is drop that perfectionist attitude and remember what the season is all about: sharing, celebration, love and generosity of spirit–not coordinating bows and wrapping paper. Let the kids help wrap gifts and trim the tree. Trust your husband with some of that list. Accept offers of help gladly and with gratitude. You can do it! :)

  • Cassie V.

    December 11th, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    I’m a control freak and at Christmas that tendency goes into overdrive. How can I not do that? By the time Christmas Day arrives I’m mentally, emotionally and physically drained. Being festive is not easy in that frame of mind.

  • Florence

    December 13th, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    No one can make you let that all slide a little over the holidays, Cassie V.. You need to do that. Couldn’t you give yourself permission to ease up just this once and treat it as an experiment? The sky won’t fall if you choose to take the festivities down a notch and include others more in the preparation side. And it is a choice.

  • Joelle

    December 14th, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    This year my biggest challenge is the severe weather! I’ve worried and worried about it and you know what, that changes nothing so I hereby officially quit worrying. My guests will never make it here anyway if the roads are too bad or the airports are closed and if they do, we’ll just make do with what we have and count our blessings for all being safe, sound and together. Merry Christmas and thank you Lori!

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