Get Through the Holidays with Your Sanity Intact

Advice for your marriage and family to make it through the holidays and enjoy celebratingHappy Thanksgiving!  If your life hasn’t sped up yet, it’s coming!  From Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a full and busy time.  And if you don’t plan ahead, your marriage and family will experience a chaotic rather than joyous time of the year.  From juggling schedules, budgets, family get-togethers, menus, and multiple parties, this stressful time of year can easily leave you in exhaustion.  But it doesn’t have to!  It can still be a relaxing and magical part of life, as long as you have a plan.


Ben and I typically start talking over our expectations a few months out, planning logistics like budget and travel.  Our budget includes setting the price limit of Christmas gifts for each other.  Each year, it increases by $10.  So in year one we had a $10 budget for each other, year two $20, and so on.  Our travel plans vary since we live far from both families, so when we get to travel for holidays, we alternate where we spend Christmas day.  But we also like to spend some time sharing what each of us have in mind to make the holidays special this year.  That way, we both know what to prioritize.

Family shares advice on getting through the holidaysI’m so excited to share advice with you from my wonderful friend, Sara, who has been a wealth of family and marriage wisdom for me.  She and her husband have three boys, all under the age of three.  They have lots to pass along from their six years of marriage and about getting through the last few months of each year in one piece.  They love celebrating and enjoying traditions with their sweet young family, as well as getting together with all of their relatives.  Here’s what they do to trade chaos for a happy celebration:


Advice for your marriage and family to survive the holidays


1.  Prioritize Time at Home

Don’t spend ALL of your holiday vacation time with extended family, because let’s be honest…that’s not a vacation!  We carve out a few days just for us to be at home.

2. Christmas Morning

We’ve committed to being at our home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so that our kiddos (and us) can enjoy being at home and starting our own traditions.

3. The 72-Hour Threshold

We try to limit our time with extended family so as to not wear out our welcome and protect our sanity. We love our families, but we want to continue to love our families and sometimes shorter stays in confined spaces need limitations.

4. Take Time for Your Spouse

Steal a date night while you are with extended family. Grandparents love spoiling kids when the parents aren’t around, and you get time away from all the chaos.

5. Share the Menu

Volunteer to bring a family favorite dessert or dish. Everyone will love you, and you will score positive points with the in-laws. And if you can’t bake, go grab something from a bakery or grocery store!

Take time to enjoy the coming weeks and remember the meaning behind each holiday.  Find a plan that works for your marriage and children, and take joy in the simple things.  For more great advice on the holidays, you can check out a post on Messy Marriage that talks about managing your expectations and time as a couple well during this time of the year.  Also read tips for spending time with others over the holidays from The Happiness Project.

Happy Thanksgiving from Real Married Life!

photo credit for background of logo: HckySo via photopin cc

Linking up at Messy Marriage, Time Warp Wife, and To Love, Honor, and Vacuum.  


  1. Thanks for sharing Sara’s great advice on the holidays, Jo! I agree that there needs to be some well-thought out boundaries and guidelines for making our family the priority at Christmas time. The chaos and busyness can swallow us, if we’ll let it! Oh, and thanks also for the shout out to Messy Marriage! I’m so glad that you’ve been linking up over there and am enjoying getting to know you here, my friend!


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