Does preparing for Christmas equal chaos in your home, life, or mind? There are so many options for fun activities and so many demands that can drain your energy. Are you finding yourself getting lost in the endless to-do list, or have you lost your spouse in the multitude? Why does preparing for Christmas sometimes bring out the worst in people?
In my last blog, I shared with you some ideas for keeping your mindset positive and making the holiday happy for everyone, including yourself. Today, let’s look at some ways to keep an eye on your marriage and reduce the risk of the little things being blown out of proportion and causing discord that may be difficult to repair.
First, have a planning session to prepare for Christmas together. Before allowing each of you to take off in different directions in preparing for Christmas, sit down and discuss some of the areas that may become sticking points if you don’t address them in advance.
Yea! Money. Everyone’s favorite topic of conversation.
First, prepare for Christmas by deciding with your spouse how much money is available for Christmas. If you’ve already spent some, then you need to figure out what else you need and how much money you have for those obligations. Don’t forget to factor in costs like traveling you need to do and the cost of the entertaining you do. If you are attending other holiday parties, you should check and see if you need to (or want to) take something.
How many people do you need to purchase gifts for? List them out and set a budget for each person.
If you’re having trouble deciding how much money you need to set aside, see if meeting in the middle would be possible. Compromise in respect to your partner’s wishes or needs. Once you’ve agreed upon that number, stick to it. If you need to change something, don’t do it unilaterally. Talk about it first.
To make the finances less stressful, think of ways you recognize people in your life without spending a lot of money. Be creative.
You should also plan ahead. I know. It’s too late for some of us. But maybe next year, you’ll be able to look at these tips earlier and make decisions before the stress of the season hits.
Some people thrive in the highly social atmosphere of Christmas. They enjoy visiting and having people over. They get even more energy from all the interactions. Others get overwhelmed quickly by a lot of people. They last through the party and then finally feel able to breathe again after the last person has left.
You most likely know if your spouse leans toward one of these extremes already. But in case you’re not sure, ask them which one they better identify with. Then try to find a way to accommodate that feeling so that both of you can enjoy the holiday season.
If your spouse loves the social scene, perhaps you can offer them time away to go to another celebration without you. If your spouse cringes at the thought of another party, maybe reduce the number of parties or promise an exit at a particular time to limit the time there. You could also have a signal that indicates that the introvert is ready to go.
Romans 12:10 says to
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
So don’t think of how you can get your own way first. Instead, honor your spouse and your love for them by considering how you can outdo them in the way to show that honor.
Relationships with your spouse’s family, or maybe your own, can cause tension at this time of year as well. If there are people on your side of the family who just rub your spouse the wrong way, make sure they understand that no matter what, they are your priority. Do this because the Bible says in Matthew 19:5:
And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’
Don’t let these relatives bad-mouth your sweetheart either. Whether they like it or not, your spouse is the one you have chosen to do life with, and it’s not acceptable for them to share any negative opinions with you. Let them know with no doubt that if they can’t be kind, they will not be welcome.
One of the mindsets that if adopted, will help you keep your marriage strong is the idea of preference. You need to put the needs of your spouse above all others, including your extended family. Read more about those mindsets here.
Preparing for Christmas in advance can eliminate some of the stress. Your family also may have expectations for you that you might not realize. Perhaps Grandma assumes you are coming to her house for Christmas, but you’re not planning to be in her town that day. Again, planning ahead is best. Decide where you are going and when, and then let people know. There may be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but you need to do what is best for your family. Grandma will have to wait until another day.
The To-Do List
Neither one of you should be responsible for everything on the preparing for Christmas to-do list. There’s way too much for one person. Between the decorating, gift buying, card sending, baking and wrapping, one person will get frustrated quickly.
Sit down as a couple and assign different activities to each partner. Play to one another’s strengths. My husband is great at planning out events and meals. So that is definitely his job. I generally enjoy the wrapping (as long as I don’t put it all off too long?) so I do that.
Once you’ve made decisions about who is doing what, make sure you follow through! Nothing is worse than finding out on Christmas Eve at 5 PM that something wasn’t done. If you are having trouble finishing something, ask for help. And if your partner asks for help, don’t belittle them, just assist in any way they need.
So when you are preparing for Christmas, as with the rest of the year, compromise is critical. Your spouse will have different opinions than you, and that’s ok. Look for places where you can give some wiggle room and keep your marriage strong throughout the entire Christmas season.
Want a Christmas Decision Cheat Sheet to help you plan for a reduced-stress holiday? Join the email list and get one FREE! We want your marriage to be one you want to celebrate, especially at Christmas Time.
Need a planner? Here is a great one! It has space to plan for your budget, gift giving, and other decisions that need to be made. It also has space for notes to yourself about next year. It’s never too early to plan for it and keep the stress levels low and the marital happiness high!
Look for our next post that will give you ideas to create traditions for your family!
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