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Holidays | Know your Partner
Holiday Stress: 6 ways to give the gift of time

It’s the holidays and in between your trip to see Santa at the mall, the tree farm and the office party, you and your partner are proverbial ships passing in the night.  You feel like two of Santa’s elves working different shifts.  It’s hard to feel Secure in Love when the stress of the holidays leaves you with little time to put even your own mistletoe to good use.

When it comes to the Holiday’s it’s not merely the shopping, it’s the baking, the entertaining, it’s trying to fit twelve days of Christmas in a mere six. With your priorities focused on finding the perfect gift for your child’s teacher or your mother-in-law you are too exhausted to have any time left to spend with your significant other, friends or family.

By definition ‘stress’ is too much to do and not enough time. You have 10 errands to do and only one hour to get them done. Sure you could easily run your errands if you had nine more hours, but time is a commodity, one you have little of.

Years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of giving the gift of time as a way to manage holiday stress. I was explaining (or rather complaining) to my good friend Jen all the stress I was under reciting a long list of things to get done. Jen suggested that for Christmas she wanted to give me the gift of time.

When she said this, I didn’t know what to make of her gift, my first reaction was negative; was Jen trying to get out of our annual gift giving ritual or was she suggesting that I was difficult to please?  What do you do with the gift of time, the perfectionist in me thought if you give someone the gift of time, how do you wrap it? Does it fit better in a cute gift bag or an organic box with a natural bow?  Do I send a thank-you note for receiving the gift of time? What is the correct etiquette for such a present? I now realize how smart Jen actually is. If stress is defined as the lack of time, then giving the gift of time can be priceless.

Personalizing the Gift of Time: The beauty of the gift of time is that it is in line with the true meaning of the holiday season. You can personalize your gift to either your romantic partner or a close friend or family member. This works better if you know your partner well. For example, if your partner’s love style is more the nervous or emotional type; either the Loyal Supporter or Expressive Giver you will want to spend quality time with them, better that you offer help or have a shared experience.  If your partner is a Hesitant Romantic or a Renaissance Lover better to remove expectations and spend more quiet time enjoying each other.  If you want to know more click what is your partner’s love style ?

  1. Remove expectations: If you’d rather spend time with someone and skip the little gifts, tell them, “No worries, please let’s not exchange gifts this year, Take me off your list.”
  2. Offer Help: Show up to help a friend in need, bring scissors and tape to their house help them wrap presents while you both share a glass of nog and catch up in person versus over the phone? Don’t forget your elf hat!
  3. Shared Experiences: Why not take your sweetheart to a Christmas show or concert? Go see a Christmas Carol or the Nutcracker, or the symphony.  Or for little money, spend time in the car looking at Christmas lights. If your partner’s love style is the Loyal Supporter or the Expressive Giver shared experiences are a way to connect and have a special experience.
  4. Time for romance/something novel: Why not leave your company Holiday party early? Your babysitter doesn’t need to know your change in plans. You and your significant other might need to spice things up. Surprise them by getting a hotel room put a bow on yourself to make it obvious you are a present. Remember to keep things fresh by doing things that are novel and exciting.
  5. Make time for yourself: No matter how busy or haired I am, I find that if I can make some time for myself that not only am I a better partner, I’m a better host and listener.  I make it a point to schedule time not only for exercise but time for a massage and a manicure. If your partner’s or love style is either the Hesitant Romantic or the Renaissance Lover, the gift of time for yourself will be much appreciated. Don’t forget to put yourself on the list.  Make time for yourself a priority.
  6. Volunteer together:  Something magical happens when people get together to do good for someone other than themselves.  Find your local food bank or child’s toy drive and volunteer together.  Whether it’s time with your best friend or your honey, you won’t regret helping others have a better holiday.

Think about time as a precious gift to your partner, friends and yourself this holiday. The message of the season is not about what gift you give but how you spend your time.  Isn’t your time more valuable than any trinket that ends in the junk drawer.



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