Over the years as Sex Therapists and Relationship Coaches, so many of the couples we've seen have shared their experiences of rough patches during the holiday season. Holiday gift giving and family visits can add emotional and financial stress. We came up with this list of pointers that can help you and your partner stay connected during the holiday season so that you can experience the love and joy of the holidays instead.
Make a "Naughty" and "Nice" gift list
There can be something pretty unsexy about the list making/gift giving process. In long term relationships where finances are collective, gift giving can really fall flat as you watch the funds leave your joint bank account and go to presents you might not necessarily want to spend it on. In new relationships it can feel like a test of whether you know someone well enough. Instead or in addition to traditional gift-giving, why not make a list of sensual or sexual favors you would like to receive. You might want a "nice" long massage or perhaps a quick "naughty" trip up the chimney? Sharing your gift list is a fun way to supercharge your intimate connection over the holidays.
Learn the family dynamics
Whether this is your first time spending a holiday with your partner's family or the 145th family holiday (but who's counting?), we have a hunch that there could be a bit more communication leading up to the events. Instead of having an every person for themselves survivalist approach to the holidays, it is important to ask your partner what they need from you during this time. Even the closest of families can fall into damaging patterns this time of year, and by coming up with some strategies beforehand you and your partner can find ways to enjoy the good parts. This goes both ways, of course. It so important not to take for granted that your partner will intuit your needs around family and holidays, but to give them a chance to support you.
Steal moments beyond the mistletoe
By all means steal a socially-sanctioned kiss under the mistletoe as often as you possibly can. But, also take time to slow dance in the kitchen, take a bundled stroll arm and arm, whisper a compliment or sneak away for a car makeout session that might lead to more. By creating lots of small moments of connection you can ensure your relationship heads into the new year strong. We have many suggestions for intimacy boosting exercises in our new book, Making Love Real. So, if you plan on purchasing something, might as well make it our book ;).
Create your own Sexy Traditions
Think of ways to infuse the traditions you already have with a sexy twist (i.e. Don't wear panties to that holiday matinee). Or, create new traditions like enjoying a seasonal shag on a blanket in front of the fireplace where you can feel the heat of the flames. We had a couple who would always have a Thanksgiving quickie after they put the bird in the oven and before everyone else woke up. Instead of feeling like they had an annoying chore they got to get away with something. Whatever it is, come up with some annual events that will keep the holidays exciting and special for you as a couple.
Take Space When You Need It
We can not stress this enough. Between holiday parties, family obligations, shopping, work and sleep it can feel impossible to have any me time. During this time of year it is so important to find space to do what keeps you feeling like you even if it means missing an event or two or not helping with a family meal. This will allow you to be present for your partner and actually experience and enjoy moments of connection with family and friends as well.