Surviving Holidays with In-Laws as a Couple doesn’t need to be stressful or difficult, as long as you can discuss what your plan will be in advance of the holidays.  Here are 9 tips to help you get ahead of any holiday challenges together:

1. Approach Holiday Time with In-Laws as a Team

Dealing with in-laws can be stressful for both partners, so make sure you are approaching time with family members as a joint effort. Discuss in advance how much time and participation you’d like with family and what your signal will be when you need to take a break together.

2. Have Realistic Holiday Expectations

We tend to over-idealize the holidays, which only leads to disappointment.  Holidays are difficult enough and don’t need to be perfect.  We can make holidays easier on our relationships by letting people know what gifts we’d appreciate and how much quality time we’d like to spend alone and with family members.

3. Set a Holiday Budget Together as a Couple

Financial expectations are easier to manage when they are discussed in advance.  Take time to determine your gift giving needs and what budget feels right so that unplanned spending doesn’t create additional stress.

4. Set Boundaries to Avoid Arguments 

Time out strategies help reduce heated arguments, but it’s important to agree in advance on how you’ll communicate your need for a time out.  If you don’t already have a strategy that works for you, check out my free step-by-step strategy guide.

5. Create New Traditions Together

Start a tradition that better suits your lifestyle today instead of one from your childhood. Creating this with your partner will strengthen your relationship and give you something special to celebrate together.

6. Get Comfortable Saying No Thank You  

Sometimes we have a hard time saying no when it comes to special events and family, so we end up agreeing to everything in the hopes of not upsetting others.  Don’t agree to something that you know you aren’t going to enjoy.  Hidden resentment will create additional issues and add extra stress on the relationship.

7. Recognize Difficult Feelings Before Acting On Them

Take notice of when you feel triggered, upset, or sad before the emotion spills out into actions. The holidays tend to trigger grief reactions and memories of people we may have loved and lost.  Share any sensitive subjects or topics your family may have, and ask your partner to do the same for you. 

8. Slow Down and Practice Self Care

Carve out at least 15 minutes to unwind and relax each day.  Pick something you love that makes you feel like you’ve taken good care of your needs.  Resist the desire to book too much in one day and make sure you schedule down-time for yourself and your relationship.

9. Plan Date Nights in Your Vacation Time

Carve out time to be alone together and do things you both love.  Make sure you are making time to sustain the romance and intimacy you have when you aren’t among family.

Need more help preparing your holiday plan as a couple?