The holidays are by far the hardest time of year to be away from family. Last year, my husband and I celebrated our first holiday season as husband and wife, but we also celebrated the holidays in another country, away from everything and everyone that we know and love, for the first time. While holidays abroad can be difficult, we always try to find a way to make the season special, either by starting our own new traditions or continuing to do things that we typically would at home (like exchanging our annual holiday wish lists). In retrospect, Christmas in Italy last year was phenomenal and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend our first holiday season as a married couple. Spending the holiday alone with my new husband showed me that, while family is important to both of us, we can be totally happy and content with just each other – and that, after all, is part of what marriage is all about.
If you and your mate find yourself in a situation similar to the one that my husband and I face yearly and are forced to (or decide to) spend Christmas alone together instead of with family and friends, it can still be a very merry day! Here are some ways you can make Christmas for two extra special:
- Make it romantic: Who says Christmas can’t be romantic? Spend Christmas Eve enjoying a quiet indoor picnic for two complete with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. My husband and I always open one gift each on Christmas Eve and it sets the mood for a romantic evening. After your romanic Christmas Eve, treat your significant other to breakfast in bed in the morning to keep the romance alive all day long.
- Cook together: If you’re missing the home cooked meal you usually have on Christmas with your family, get in the kitchen and cook a big, traditional Christmas dinner together. It’s a fun way to spend the day with your spouse and you can reap the benefits of your labor of love at dinner time.
- Volunteer: The holiday season is the season of giving and volunteering on Christmas day is super rewarding. Find a place for you and your spouse to volunteer. Doing some community service will keep your mind off of being away from your families and give you a fulfilling way to spend the day while spreading holiday cheer to others. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and hospitals are just a few of the places that typically welcome volunteers on Christmas day.
- Check in to a local hotel or go on a road trip or romantic getaway: Christmas is a great time for a staycation, road trip, or getaway, especially since it falls on a Friday this year. Head out of town or check in to a local hotel for the weekend and create memories with your sweetheart that will last a lifetime.
- Go out for dinner: Get dressed up and go out for a nice dinner for two on Christmas Eve or Christmas night. Contrary to popular belief, some places, like Ruth’s Chris, are actually open for the holiday and serve a fabulous prefixed menu for the occasion.
- Act like a kid again: Be sure to buy one game or fun gift and spend the day playing with your spouse. Have a Wii tournament or spend the day playing Scrabble, Twister or Uno, or some combination of the three. A little friendly competition between lovers always ensures a good time.
I’m really looking forward to Christmas in Japan! What are your plans for the holidays this year? I would love to hear what you’ll be up to!