Surviving the Holiday Season: a How-to Guide for Couples Everywhere

I can’t quite believe I’m already writing about the holiday season, but ignoring it until the last minute is what gets me into trouble every year. So if the shops have declared it holiday season (and believe me, they well and truly have), then I guess we all need to start planning.

Oh, the cumulative pressure of the holidays on a couple. There’s really nothing quite like it.

Done right, it has all the makings for disaster—the financial pressures of gift-buying and party-throwing; the family pressures to have a really lovely time together even though, after just a few hours, they’ll drive you batty; and the sheer exhaustion from fighting crowds while shopping, spending meticulous hours planning, cooking entire turkeys and eggnog, and partying into the night—and then doing it all over again.

In order to get through it unscathed, take heed of these practical tips for surviving the holiday season.

1. Spend time together, alone

Among the chaos, make sure you allocate a moment or two to yourselves, to breathe, decompress, and enjoy each other’s company. Start a tradition you both enjoy that you can look forward to each holiday.

If you’re really busy, make your alone time productive too, by baking together in the kitchen with a bottle of wine, or wrapping presents on the lounge room floor with your favorite tunes on in the background.

2. Start shopping now

The later you leave the shopping, the longer it’s going to take (hideous lines) and the more money you’re going to spend (quick, we’re running out of time to decide on a present! Just get that!).

Sit down together now and make the full list of family members you need to buy for and how much you’re going to spend. If you really do start now, then online shopping is perfect—there are no lines, the gifts are delivered, wrapped, to your door in time for Christmas, and you can easily track what you’re spending as you go.

That means less arguing over who was supposed to get your in-laws presents, and less financial stress at the last minute. Plus, you won’t be too tired come the celebration days of the holidays.

3. Be a mind-reader

Understand that when your partner is stressing, it will rarely be about you.

Learn to read what’s going on for them—whether their family is getting to them, they’re overwhelmed with the number of things they have to get through, and so on.

Don’t bite back. Support them as best you can by offering to help, diffusing the situation, and letting them vent. Open and honest communication is crucial during stressful times.

What about you? Any great tips for helping survive the holidays together, besides chugging eggnog?

About Emma

Emma Merkas is the co-creator of couples' inspiration website $30 Date Night and author of the 'How Was It For You?' relationships and dating column in Australian newspaper, mX. You can also find her at her own blog or on Twitter @30dollardate.


  1. Great tips for holidays, thanks a million!

  2. The first two are easy. The last one is a bit difficult. If you know my girlfriend, you’d understand why. hah

  3. Great post by the way.. Don’t worry it’s not too early to write about the holiday season. In fact, now’s the best time to do it. Not just write about it though, but on shopping as well. It’s still not that crowded in the malls and stores here so now’s the perfect time to do some early-bird shopping or research on what your kids or friends like for Christmas.

    Enjoy your holiday season!

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