Going home for the holidays. It's... a lot. Whether you get along with your family or y'all put the not-so-fun in dysfunction, being in the original homestead can be heavy. So if you're bringing a partner home,
having Christmas couple activities planned while you're between the festivities is a good way to to take a break and enjoy some holiday spice in the love department.
"If you’re planning on spending a significant amount of time visiting family for the holidays, it can be helpful to carve away alone time to reinforce that beyond all the aunts, uncles, cousins and friends — you’re each other’s number one," Match’s chief dating expert,
Rachel DeAlto, tells Bustle.
Sometimes in all the holiday hoopla it can be hard to just stop for a minute, enjoy the moment with your partner, and say "Hey there, buddy, I sure am glad we've got each other." So carve out some intentional time to do just that. Of course, remember, holidays are for the family, too, especially if you've gone for a visit. So if you're there to spend time with the relatives, don't isolate. Just give yourself a little time.
Below, take a look at some fun, short activities you can do with your partner while you're home. You can celebrate your own little way within the big family holiday, because sometimes you just need that breather!
Most towns have a rink somewhere, my friends.
Holiday time is a great time to go ice skating. It can make a fun date and take the couples focus away from holiday stressors, Dr. Catherine Jackson. a licensed clinical psychologist and board certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle.
And let's be real, how cute is it when one of you can barely stand on the skates and the other one has to help them up all the time? Pretty cute.
This might even be the perfect thing for the two of you to do after the rest of the crowd is on their way to bed after the big holiday meal — a nice late night date night movie to see something delightful. Perhaps there are some old classics playing at a local theater, but if all else fails
Little Women and Cats! are both coming out Christmas day,
Take A Tour Of Your Old Haunts
The drive-in movie theater. Underneath the bleachers where you had your first kiss. The 24 hour diner. The 24 hour gas station you and your friends went to buy snacks because it was the only place open other than the 24 hour diner past like, 9 p.m. Sure, that particular description might sound like a small town circa 1967, but heck, this is America, a lot of us grew up in suburbia. Time to get in the Honda and tell your darling how the crevices of the town that made you
Maybe the Christmas feast and the constant nibbling of Christmas cookies is truly enough for you and your appetite — in which case, I say that you need to get it together and make room for more.
You and your sweet can pop around a day or two before the festivities start, or after they all die down on the 26th, and treat yourself to all your hometown has to offer. Best coconut donuts on the eastern seaboard? Yes, please! Pie you could sink your entire forearm into? Why not!
Or, as Jackson says, do some holiday baking together. Cookies, gingerbread men or a gingerbread house can be a lot of fun this time of year, of course!
You don't have to leave the premises to do something that feels intimate and bonding. What brings couples closer than a game of Boggle or some Go Fish? I would say very little. After you do a few rounds just the two of you, you can invite everyone else to join and it will be a truly rousing, fun time for all!
DeAlto suggests getting some exercise, maybe something one of you has never tried before. It's a way to get out of the house that has a time cap and makes you feel good!
Whether it's going for a run, getting one a local hiking trail, or taking a yoga class together, you got to move and shake the holidays out of your body. What better way to let go of that comment your mom made about your hair and the very borderline jokes Uncle Ray keeps making than to jog it out, or take that candlelit Eve before Christmas Eve yoga class?
It's worth mentioning that if you're only in town for the day, you might just have to suck it up and stay at Grandma's the whole time. You've got your partner there to roll your eyes at when things get tense. But if you're there for a few days, take 30 minutes to duck into Java Janene's for a cuppa joe.
"It doesn’t have to be an extravagant outing, but a little alone time with you partner can help you get through anything," DeAlto says.
Last Minute Trip For Stocking Stuffers
Oh, right, you forgot there were going to be like, ten nieces and nephews. Dollar store, anyone? This is the perfect little trip, DeAlto says. It's focused around the family and gift-giving, and gives you a little chance to get out and conspire for a good cause. Perhaps you can even sneak in a little Bart Simpson figurine or a mini slinky for your lover's stocking without them seeing, while you're at it.
Cruise Around And Look At The Holiday Lights
Check out holiday decorations together.
"Couples can drive around and look at lights in festive towns or neighborhoods or check out the beautifully decorated stores (like Macy's) and downtown areas (like Downtown Chicago)," Jackson says.
Furthermore, lots of cities in various US states display spectacular lights at local zoos (i.e, Zoo Lights). Any of these options would be perfect for some couples time during the holidays.
Have Your Own Gift Exchange
The gift you've really been excited to give your partner? Well, give it to them without your entire family watching and it might be even more special. Exchange your gifts for one another when you are alone instead of doing so with everyone, Jackson says.
"Christmas Eve, early Christmas Day before everyone else awakes or an agreed upon, designated time around the holidays are all ideal times to exchange gifts with your partner alone," Jackson says.
This one is probably only a good idea if you have your own bathroom at your relative's house, but if you do, it's an amazing way to relax together after a long, hard day of
Christmas extravaganzas, family meals, and pretending you liked the Disney socks your cousin gave you. A little Bubble bath and some Michael Buble Christmas music, and it's a holly jolly romance. You could head to a soup kitchen or even go walk dogs together at a local shelter. Holiday time is a time of giving, so volunteer on the day of or the days surrounding the holidays, Jackson says. It's a great way to get out of the house for a few hours, and perhaps one your family would be less likely to complain about!
"Why not work together to spread some holiday cheer and give the gift of kindness to others through volunteering," Jackson says.
Make handmade gifts,
therapist Christine Scott Hudson tells Bustle. Doing something crafty is a great way to spend time together while you're "stuck" in mom's living room. Make it fun and productive!
"Watch a YouTube video and try to bake, sew, paint, or craft," Scott-Hudson says. "Learn how to play a song together on the ukulele or guitar. Get creative. Just have fun and try something novel together."
All in all, enjoy your time together no matter what it is you do! Having someone there to share the warm parts of the holidays, and the little bumps, makes it all the more special.
Experts: Match’s Chief Dating Expert, Rachel DeAlto. Dr. Catherine Jackson. a licensed clinical psychologist Therapist Christine Scott Hudson