By Betsy St. Amant Haddox, Crosswalk.com
The holidays are right around the corner, and if you’re anything like me, that fact brings to mind an image of a beautifully lit Christmas tree holding out an endless to-do list. Yikes! As much as we try to downsize or simplify the season every year, there are inevitably a ton of things that must get done. And unfortunately, it’s all too common for spouses to feel that pressure from each other more than they feel the love toward each other.
This holiday, be proactive and plan ahead to keep the spark going during the cozy season—and I don’t mean the one in the fireplace! (wink-wink)
Here are twenty festive holiday dates to do with your spouse:
1. Look at Christmas Lights
This tried-and-true holiday activity is a must! While fun for the whole family, there’s something special about sneaking off with your husband, grabbing a hot cocoa or apple cider from the local coffee shop, and driving around various neighborhoods, checking out their glimmering handiwork. If you live near a walk-through Christmas light trail, even better! Bundle up, hold hands, and embrace the magic together.
2. Christmas Movie Marathon
Some winter nights, you just don’t feel like going out—especially in the cold! If that’s you this weekend, try snuggling up with your partner on the couch instead. Share a blanket, pop that popcorn, and watch a few back-to-back holiday flicks. No fighting over the remote allowed!
3. Visit a Holiday Market/Tree Farm
If you live near a holiday market, outdoor Christmas festival, or tree farm, this is the perfect excuse to wear that new scarf you barely touched last winter and get a head start on Christmas shopping or finding the perfect tree for your home. Holiday errands can still be a date if you find some mistletoe to kiss under! You might also get some ideas on what to get each other for Christmas gifts.
4. Christmas Scavenger Hunt
Nothing like a little marital competition to keep the spark alive! There’s something about being silly, racing around town against the clock, trying to find holiday-related items, and laughing together that brings you closer to your spouse. You can set up a scavenger hunt for your spouse to do while you tag along and take pictures, or you could get someone to set it up for you to both do together. (Then return the favor for that friend!) Ho Ho Ho!
5. Bake Christmas Cookies/Build a Gingerbread House
Love starts in the kitchen, right? So grab an apron, an oven mitt, and your partner, and dare to bake Christmas cookies together. Decorate them with icing, sprinkles, chocolate chips—whatever you’re craving. You can share them with neighbors after or enjoy them yourselves as a holiday movie treat to prolong your date. (Food fights are totally allowed!)
6. Indoor Christmas Picnic
Spread out a cozy blanket, order a pizza, or make your spouse a homemade meal to eat on the floor together. This is the perfect time to turn off the TV, put your phone away, and engage in some much-needed verbal connection. Top it off with S’mores in the fireplace and it’s a special night to remember!
7. Christmas Art
Whether you’re artistic or not, painting together is a fun way to bond with your spouse this holiday season. Whether you visit a local art studio or make your own studio at home with canvas and acrylic paint, challenge each other to create a Christmas scene and get to work. Paint a snowman, winter landscape, cute reindeer—it’s up to you! And to up the ante, post pictures of the completed projects on social media and get your friends to vote for the best one! Loser gets a kiss.
8. Go Sledding/Ice Skating
If you’re feeling up for the physical, wintry challenge and your town has the option, a date night spent sledding down Thrill Hill or hitting up a local ice skating rink is the perfect way to get the blood flowing and make memories together.
9. Christmas Lingerie
Buy each other—and then wear—Christmas lingerie. No further explanation needed! (wink)
10. Decorate Your Home
There’s no time like the present (present—get it?) to get your house in shape for the holidays. Send the kids to Grandma’s house, blast some Christmas music, and start putting up the lights. Bonus points if you decorate in your pajamas!
11. Goodwill Date Night
There was a recent trend going around where friends (or spouses!) bought each other a cheap outfit (the more embarrassing, the better!) from Goodwill or other thrift shops, and then made the other person wear it out on the town afterward—no excuses! Make this a holiday version by choosing the ugliest Christmas sweater you can find for your spouse, then going out to dinner in a nice restaurant like everything is totally normal. You’ll have inside jokes for days!
12. Christmas Game Night
Pour a glass of wine or sparkling water and belly up to the table with your spouse for a rousing game night! You can find endless games online for free or cheap, including printables on Etsy for holiday bingo, word searches, crossword puzzles, mad-libs, and more. You could even make your own “would you rather” style game with ridiculous Christmas scenarios, or play Christmas Truth or Dare. You’re guaranteed to laugh for hours.
13. Write a Christmas Story
Writing with your spouse can be a lot of fun. Using the ever-unpredictable “round robin” style of writing, you and your spouse take turns writing only one line each, alternating turns, until you create a funny Christmas story you can share later with your kids. They’ll love it!
14. See Santa
Being a kid again with your spouse is such a fun bonding experience. Grab your camera and go to your local department store to take turns telling Santa what you want for Christmas. Get photos and share the joy online, or use it for your Christmas card.
15. Dress in Costume
Halloween isn’t the only time for costumes. Find an elf, Santa, or reindeer costume at a local thrift store or costume shop, then go out to dinner or run errands like nothing is different. Just a reindeer buying groceries…nothing to see here, folks! The photo ops will be priceless—along with the blackmail potential. (hehehe)
16. Shop for a Charity
Put your shopping skills to good use and head out together to fill a church-sponsored Christmas shoebox, angel tree wish, or other holiday charity project. Giving back during the Christmas season is a great way to get your mind off your own holiday stress and bond with your spouse over what really matters.
17. Go Caroling
If you or your spouse are musically inclined (or hey, even if you’re not!), grab a guitar and go caroling. Your neighbors will be blessed (or entertained, depending on your musical ability), and you’ll have a blast together. This is a great option for a double date if you can find another couple to join you.
18. Wrap Gifts
Wrapping gifts is a necessary part of the holidays and can be a burdensome task that most often falls on Mom. This year, do it together and share the load! Set the mood with fun wrapping paper, have a holiday movie or music playing in the background, and light a holiday-scented candle. This is another great opportunity to talk and connect while you work.
19. Attend a Holiday Concert, Movie, or Play
If you and your spouse like dressing up and going out on the town, then Christmas is the perfect time to find a holiday concert or play. Local theaters will often offer holiday music via orchestras, or a ballet of The Nutcracker. Check your area’s listings and get tickets in advance for a memorable, dressy night out!
20. Make an Advent Stocking
This holiday date will take some advanced planning, but a wonderful way to connect with your spouse this season is to fill a big stocking with things you love about each other, and then read one each every night for the weeks leading up to Christmas. This can easily turn into a Christmas tradition you repeat year after year.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/lucigerma
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over twenty romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two daughters, an impressive stash of coffee mugs, and one furry Schnauzer-toddler. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of an iced coffee. She is a regular contributor to iBelieve.com and offers author coaching and editorial services via Storyside LLC.