1. Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season. Don’t lose perspective of that. We suggest creating a family tradition of reading the Nativity story from the Bible. Traditions rooted in our Christian faith unite and bond us together as family and with the Lord.
2. If you are a newlywed or in a new parenting phase, this Christmas may feel different to you, as you are trying to establish new traditions or figuring out how to celebrate with your spouse. The best advice we have for you is grace and compromise! Act in grace—letting go of old traditions and making new ones can be particularly hard for some people. Compromise—you may think some of their traditions are silly, but it is important to validate what is important to your spouse.
3. NEVER spend what you don’t have. Just because it is Christmas and you want to be generous, does not mean you should go into debt. God wants you to be a good steward of your money, whether it is Christmas or not.
4. Communicate your gift-giving budget. How much do you want to spend on the kids? How much on your friends, boss, pastor, etc? If you are buying without talking to your spouse first, you may make your spouse feel uptight in other areas of Christmas giving.
5. At the coming change of the New Year, it is a good time to reflect on who you have been and how you have acted this last year. December is not too early to start processing your resolutions, and it is definitely a good time to apologize to your spouse over the past mistakes. Don’t allow past transgressions to bring bitterness any further into this season. Apologize and forgive.
6. Be flexible! Nothing ever goes picture perfect! If the food gets ruined, it is okay. There are always back up plans—even if that means making the boxes of macaroni and cheese. It can be something to laugh about later!
7. For many people the Christmas season is very difficult—maybe a loss of a family member or a loss of a job are affecting their joyful spirit. Keep in mind to reach out to these people. Maybe invite them to dinner or deliver presents. You will be surprised how much joy it will bring you and your family to reach out and give on Christmas.
8. Don’t be a Grinch or a Scrooge. If you tend to be a pessimist, make this the time to leave the negativity in the past. Your bad attitude distances yourself from your spouse and family. A change of heart could be the best present you could give.
9. Make sure your gift expectations are reasonable. Your spouse may not be buying you that diamond necklace you admired or those brand new golf clubs. If you keep your expectations low, you will feel blessed by whatever they give.
10. HELP! Even when you designate responsibilities and you may think that is his or her task, offer a helping hand. Sometimes simply offering to help can make your spouse feel less overwhelmed and/or alone.
11. Many people struggle this season because they have children from past marriages and sharing the children with the old spouse while they establish a new family with the new spouse creates quite a predicament. Do not disrespect your ex-husband or ex-wife in front of your children. Your children did not ask for you to get divorced, and they have been put in a very tough place. Be gentle with them. No matter how angry or resentful you are with your ex-husband or ex-wife, it is still your child’s father and mother, and for that they deserve respect. Do not put the child in a tougher place then they already are. Do not make them choose sides or use them as a manipulation tool. Put yourself in your child’s shoes, and then treat them with the gentleness, kindness, grace and mercy they deserve.
12. Fill your home with laughter. Jokes and good humor are some of the most important lasting memories you can make. If you are always serious, you are missing out on a lot of fun that you could be having. Your spouse and family will appreciate if you loosen up, laugh at your self, and genuinely enjoy the company of each other.
13. In-laws can be a particular point of marital stress this time of year. We all know we are to respect and honor our own parents, but don’t forget how important it is to respect and honor your spouse’s parents as well. When you disrespect your spouse’s parents, you are also disrespecting your spouse, their heritage, and one of the things that they care most about.
14. Pick your battles. This is something that can be said all year long, but particularly in this season, it is important to be intentional about what you will disagree on. Try to lean on the side of compromise. Your children and your extended family will be observing you a lot on Christmas day, and you should act as the standard of what a good, Godly marriage looks like.
15. Make sure to schedule time for your marriage during this busy season—that includes making time for sexual relations. In busy times, often one of the first things we tend to put on the back burner is sex. This should be one of the most romantic times of year because it is a time of thankfulness and joy! Make sure you take advantage of that and do not allow the excuse of business to take you away from the important uniting of you and your spouse.