It may still be November, but it won’t be long before it begins to feel a lot like Christmas: Frantic shopping trips as we try to fill those Christmas wish lists; day calendars overflowing with holiday festivities; budgets that will likely be blown; and family tensions that will probably flare.
Add to that fitting in time for your partner’s family and it’s enough to make anyone want to crawl into bed, pull up the covers, and hide out until the new year.
To help make it through the holidays, Toronto-based couples therapist Karen Hirscheimer says couples should develop a plan early on for how they are going to handle this time of year. “Make sure each partner feels well represented in the plan,” says Hirscheimer, adding if one person doesn’t they should speak up right away instead of letting those feelings fester.
If you can’t spend time with both families, this might mean conceding to spend this Christmas with your partner’s family, so long as next year it’s you, your partner, and your family who come together around the tree for the annual merriment. It also means discussing with your partner how you will both handle a nagging mother/partner’s mother or belligerent cousin. “It’s good to get some support from your partner on this ahead of time,” says Hirscheimer.
In order to make it to Dec. 25, Hirscheimer recommends prioritizing the parties and events on your list, removing some of the optional events so as not to tire yourself out, and deciding whether to attend all events as a couple or fly solo for a few so you can both stretch yourself to all those must-do events on each of your lists.
Yet, no matter how hectic your holiday schedule may be, Hirscheimer advocates planning for some alone time together. “This is probably the biggest thing couples fight about (this time of year) — the lack of romantic, together time,” she says. “The holidays are intended to be a celebration. We often forget that because of all the stress involved. It’s really a time to celebrate your own accomplishments as well as your accomplishments as a couple.”
kasia iglinski/metro toronto