The holidays are a time of joy, cheer, and fighting with your boyfriend because he forgot to bring the gift you bought for his mom after you reminded him five times. These practical tips will help you avoid the bickering so you can get back to the important stuff—like eating more cookies.
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Stay Organized
Make a list of everything you need to get done between now and New Year's Eve, and then plan accordingly. Why? Because if December 23 rolls around and you haven't started crafting those handmade ornaments you wanted to give to all your cousins, you're going to take it out on the first person you see. Unfortunately for your boyfriend or husband, that's probably him.
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Keep a Joint Calendar
It's hard enough to keep track of your own holiday commitments without adding another person's plans into the mix. Set up a shared calendar in which you both write down every event you plan to attend—and, most important, which events you want the other person to attend with you. This way, if his office party and your best friend's cocktail soiree fall on the same evening, you have time to figure out how to attend both without a last-minute screaming match.
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Schedule Some Non-Holiday Time
In between all the shopping and baking and holiday parties, make sure to book at least one regular old date night with your guy. Since you're probably feeling the holiday overload, skip any "festive" stuff and do something normal, like ordering takeout and watching Netflix. You'll feel like yourselves instead of your harried holiday evil twin selves.
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Decline a Few Invitations
It will keep both of you just a little bit calmer—and therefore more patient with each other—if you don't say yes to every holiday event you get invited to. As long as you decline politely, it's OK to skip a few parties in order to get your shopping done (or just to avoid another night of Christmas cookies and too much wine).
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Make (and Stick to) a Budget
If you share finances or you're doing joint gifts for people, this is a must. Make sure you're both in agreement on how much you'll spend—and how you'll divide up the duties—or else you're sure to end up in an argument. Even if you're keeping your spending separate, going broke can put you in a grumpy mood, so stick to a budget anyway to ensure you both stay in good spirits.
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Schedule Some Non-Couple Time
While it's nice to take a breather from the holidays, just the two of you, it might be even nicer to get away from everything—including your guy. No offense to him, but if you have an afternoon to relax and get a sparkly manicure or have a champagne brunch with your best friends, you'll be much less likely to snap at him when he asks you to cook something for that potluck dinner with his college friends.
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Manage Your Family's Expectations
Are you splitting the holidays between both your families or spending them with only one? Either way, you both need to agree on a plan and make it clear to your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. in advance of the big celebration. This gives them weeks to get over the disappointment, rather than causing a bunch of hurt feelings if you bail on them last-minute. And that helps you and your guy get through it without feeling resentful toward each other too.
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Let Each Other Off the Hook for Gifts
You have enough presents to purchase, wrap, and ship, so why not just agree to forgo the gift hunt for each other this year? You can put your combined saved money toward a vacation later in the year, or agree to exchange thoughtful gifts of time and effort instead (example: he'll spend one Sunday with you at the art museum you want to check out, and you'll give him a backrub).
How to Avoid Holiday Fights: Relax
Take a deep breath, both of you. It's OK that he spilled all the eggnog. It's no big deal that you overslept and are running late to his aunt and uncle's party. Remember: It's not important that you get everything right; it's only important that you're in it together and doing your best. Is that fight really worth ruining a happy time? Nope—so let it go now.