Keeping Intimacy Alive During the Holidays

The holidays are truly a joyous and magical time of year that represents so many things -- family, togetherness and giving, just to name a few. Unfortunately, it can also be a time where we find ourselves buried up to your eyeballs in plans! There are gifts to shop for, parties to attend, groceries to buy and some of you may even find yourself in charge of hosting the entire family for a holiday get-together.

In an attempt to juggle all of your various events and obligations, it can feel impossible to find a moment to catch your breath, let alone find time to be intimate with your partner.

Let's face it; the holidays are busier than a mall parking lot on Black Friday, and they can bring your love life to a standstill. So what is a couple to do? Here are some ways to help strengthen your relationship all season long.

Submit to the season. The holidays are full of romantic ambience. The dropping temperatures and the falling snow are a great excuse -- as if you need one -- to snuggle closely with your partner. Exchange kisses and caresses and your bodies joint warmth will become romantic heat faster than you can say "mistletoe."

The glow of a Christmas tree lights provides a terrific backdrop for intimacy. Toss your reindeer sweater aside and have some fun under the tree. Just be careful not to roll over any gifts, and make sure to watch out for pine needles.

Make your schedule light. Some may consider it egregiously Grinch-y to turn down an invitation to a holiday party, but saying no to another social engagement is not the end of the world. Being selective about your soirees won't get you moved to the naughty list, nor will it convince Santa to place a lump of coal in your stocking. With or without you, other people's holidays will go on, and you'll be able to get to some of the more important things on your own to-do list - like planning a holiday-themed movie marathon with your sweetie.

Say "Humbug!" to headaches. Around the holidays, people, especially women, tend to put unnecessary pressure on themselves to get through every project or task that comes along, and to do it perfectly. It's as if every dessert has to be a homemade masterpiece, that every gift has to be wrapped perfectly with a matching bow or that the eggnog must be chilled to exactly 34° or -- gasp -- no one will drink it. In an effort to have everything turn out immaculate, we're willing to drive ourselves crazy in the process.

Take some things off your plate. I promise you, people will accept a present in a gift bag. They'll even accept an unwrapped gift. Whether you buy cookies at a bakery or a grocery store, people will still eat them. Stressing over the minutiae of the holiday will kill your mood, and the more energy you spend wrapping, baking, and rushing, the less energy you have for intimacy.

Create your own holiday. We all laughed -- and with good reason -- at Frank Costanza when he resurrected "Festivus" on an episode of Seinfeld, but he may have been on to something. And no, I am not talking about feats of strength.

I am not suggesting you abandon your religious beliefs or holiday traditions -- that would be sillier than saving all of your shopping for Christmas Eve. But you can set aside one day just for the two of you. Indulge in your favorite holiday treats, curl up on the couch and watch your favorite holiday movies, maybe even exchange a gift. Or you can move your private holiday out of the house and check out local light displays or go ice-skating before a romantic dinner.

Planning this couple's day is relatively easy. Sit down with your partner and talk about what you would do during the busy holiday season if you had a day to yourselves. Make a list and check it twice. Before you know it, you've planned a celebration for two!

A little communication and planning will make sure your love life doesn't freeze just because the holidays are here. Stay connected and ring in the New Year with a stronger, closer, relationship.