We all need help now and then. This is even more evident at the holiday season. Set yourself up for success in your relationship by setting realistic expectations for the holiday season. No one person can do it all. Share the load and enjoy the holidays.

Some people go all out during the holidays. Shopping, entertaining, going out, cooking, cleaning; it seems like the holiday season is a rush of energy and you’re practically killing yourself to get it all done in time, with the best looking tree, house, best party, best gifts. It can be a stressful time where you come home exhausted feeling like you’ll never get all done, feeling like you’re failing, and you’re just never going to be able to pull it off.

This is where your relationship with your partner can really save the holiday. Having the support of your partner can make all the difference to your stress levels and ability to accomplish your holiday plans. Here are some ways the two of you can team up to make things happen. 

  • Set realistic goals. Sit down together and plan your strategy for the week.  Look for places that your schedules mesh so that you can meet up to shop, spend time at home wrapping gifts, or preparing food. Don’t overextend yourselves but share the workload so that you each can accomplish your goals.
  • Break tasks down in to bite sized pieces so that you and your partner can chip away at your lists in small increments. Allow plenty of time to get things done. Nobody enjoys feeling rushed or under pressure to get things done. 
  • Help each other to eliminate unnecessary stress by checking each other’s lists and talking about where you can consolidate or eliminate trips out to shop. Good planning can help you be more efficient and effective in getting everything done. 
  • Don’t try to out-do each other with the bigger gift. Swap lists and have fun with shopping for each other. Remember that sometimes a thoughtful gift is more valuable than an expensive gift. Do your best to give each other what you each want. 
  • Give yourselves a break! Take time out of your busy schedules to have a meal together, a drink after work, or a coffee break while you’re out. Take some deep breaths and relax together. There’s nothing more important than the two of you being together during the holidays. Shopping can wait while you take the time to connect. 
  • Have some fun. Go to a play or a movie, no obligations, just to enjoy yourselves and let the holiday stress off at the door. Remember you and your partner are making holiday memories for the future. Let there be love and laughter as you look back on the season.

When it comes to the holiday rush, sharing the load with your partner will help you both feel great about the holiday. Remember to stop and appreciate the true meaning of the season, and be thankful for sharing it with those you love. 


  • Stuart Fensterheim

    Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW

    The Couples Expert

    Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. His weekend workshop, Two Days: Seven Conversations has become a popular venue for many to set off on their journey of connectedness. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.