We all know how it goes - Back to School time comes, then Halloween, and then the Holiday season swoops in and takes over! It can sometimes be so consuming with all the end-of-the-year deadlines, holiday parties, gift purchasing and running around that you don't even know where the rest of the year went. Getting through all the holiday hustle and bustle with your significant other can prove to be a challenge. Here are a few tips to remember this year as you battle through the end-of-year rush.
Managing the Holiday Budget for Couples & Families
Money is one of the most common things that creates frustration and fights between couples, married or not. The holidays can put even more strain on a family's budget, increasing the stress between a couple. If this is occurring in your household, perhaps sitting down with your S.O. and creating a sensible budget would help. Do this by seeing how much you are both willing to spend on holiday gifts, come to an agreement, and stick to it. It could even help to write up the agreement and sign it to give you both a sense of accountability. If you are a family that gives your children money to spend as well, try giving them cash in an envelope instead of a card and once the money runs out, that is all they can buy. That way, the spending limit is never breached by your children.
Los Angeles-based psychologist, Dr. Gretchen Kubacky says, “look at holiday shopping in the context of an overall annual budget, and be realistic about what percentage of your budget you want to allocate to gift-giving, being mindful that the year will also be full of birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and baby showers.”
Always remember, the amount you spend does not mean you love someone more or less; money does not equal memories. If the budget is tight, try getting creative by gifting experiences rather than a toy or gadget that may get forgotten about soon after.
Dealing with Toxic Family Members During the Holiday
Most of us have a family member or two that is a downer to us. Seeing them during the holidays is not always avoidable. Oftentimes, there are traditions in place and you may feel obligated to attend your family event, even if you don't want to because of this person/people.
Make sure you are open with your significant other about your fears and expectations of being around these types of family members so they can have your back and support you. Discuss a list of light and easy, non-controversial topics to talk about with that family member such as sports, movies, or hobbies. Be sure to avoid getting defensive during the conversation if they bring up one of those 'button pusher' questions many toxic people love to ask such as 'When are you going to have kids?' or 'When are you getting a better job?'. Maybe these types of questions are coming from a good place and they really are looking out for you based on their ideals, or maybe they are just looking to stir the pot; either way, it is good to have prepared answers for the topics you know they love to bring up. It is also a great idea to have some pre-prepped excuses to help you slip away from them; perhaps create a sign you could give your partner if you want help getting away from a conversation. Working together as a team to get through dealing with toxic family members will help you grow stronger as life partners.
Traveling for the Holidays
If you are a couple or family that has to travel for the holidays to get together with extended family, you know how hard and stressful it is. Although oftentimes a family member will offer you their guest room, perhaps considering a hotel would be worth the money for the quiet refuge. This gives you all the personal space that you are used to and that you could very well need to get you through the stress of the holidays. It will be a great place to help you get over your jet lag (or car lag) or to have someplace to go for a recharge during a long day. Be sure to schedule a 'down day' the day after you return from your travels (you will thank yourself for this later). As we all know, traveling is tiring; having a day to rest and relax with your S.O. will reset you both and set you off on the right foot once the holidays have ended.
Surviving the Holidays
Always keep in mind that you will make it through. You did it last year, and you can do it again! With your partner at your side, feel confident and positive because you have each other to lean on during this stressful time of year. Keep some time free for 'you' time and 'us' time and always remember you can't buy love. Spending time with your loved ones is what is most important.