Though I may juggle more activities at the end of the year, I can make time with my spouse and be fully present when we spend time together.

Our first Christmas as a married couple, my husband, Kevin, and I started a tradition of placing a blanket in front of the Christmas tree and spending an evening talking, dreaming and snuggling in front of the sparkly lights. In the first year, we even spent the night on blankets by the tree.

Six years later was the first year we forgot.

By that point, we had three young children. An already demanding season only seemed to worsen as Christmas approached. I had to find gifts for family members, teachers and coworkers. There was the busyness of all the Christmas events and get-togethers. Plus, our son’s birthday fell a week before Christmas. All of this added up to a lot of stress, and we slipped into survival mode. It wasn’t until February that we realised we’d skipped our cherished tradition.

While Christmas is meant to be a loving time of fellowship for families, I realised that if I didn’t make Kevin a priority, we could go into the new year feeling frazzled and disconnected as a couple. As Christmas quickly approaches, here are three gifts you can give your spouse this year:

The gift of your presence with your spouse

December can be a crazy month full of activities, but my spouse needs me, too. I once heard someone say, “Schedule first what matters most.” Next to God, my husband is my highest priority. Though I may juggle more activities at the end of the year, I can make time for him and be fully present when we spend time together. Even Christmas shopping or wrapping gifts together can be framed as a time for us to connect.

The gift of intimacy with your spouse

A romantic evening under the Christmas tree may sound like a cheesy newlywed move, but my husband craves intimacy — and so do I. Being intentional to add some “just us” time into the season sends a powerful message about my love and commitment to him.

Our affection for each other can also have a positive influence on our kids. Not long ago, Kevin and I were planning to go out for an evening of working on our computers at a coffee shop. When I told our young son, Josiah, that we were going out to work, he exclaimed: “No, go on a date!”

The gift of showing grace to your spouse

The busyness of the season tends to amp up my critical spirit. I’m not as tolerant of mistakes and am quick to misunderstand. This can lead to tension in relationships, especially with a spouse. But Proverbs says it’s to my glory to overlook an offence Proverbs 19:11.

I can choose to slow down during this season and give my spouse the benefit of the doubt instead of letting stress take over. When the activity of our lives increases, we must make an effort to work together and not allow our husband or wife to become the enemy.

After the year we missed our time by the Christmas tree, we revived our tradition and have kept it ever since. As I find ways to love my husband intentionally during the holiday season, our Christmases grow sweeter over time.

Ask these questions to determine which gift is most important to your spouse

  • What is a romantic tradition — holiday or other — that my spouse and I have or used to have?

  • Which gift does my spouse need most this season? My presence, intimacy or grace?

  • What is one way I can make my spouse a priority over the holidays and heading into the New Year?

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Don’t let Christmas gift giving stress your marriage

© 2019 Suzanne Gosselin. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Published at

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Multnomah University with a degree in journalism and biblical theology. She lives in California with her husband, Kevin, who is a family pastor, and her four young children: Josiah, Sadie, Amelia and Jackson. When she's not hanging out with her kids, Suzanne loves a good cup of coffee, conversation with friends, musical theatre and a trip to the beautiful California coast.

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