Side by Side

Q:  The holidays are coming quickly and I am feeling overwhelmed again. Each year I promise myself to not get caught up in the “holiday have-to’s.” But by the time New Years Day rolls around, it’s all a blur. I’m not sure I’ve enjoyed anything or anyone, especially my husband. What can I do to make this season different?

A: There are two fairly simple things you can do to reduce feeling like the holidays are controlling you rather than you controlling them.

First, either you and your husband schedule a “holiday date” for the two of you or you surprise him with one. Cleveland has much to offer in daytime, evening and weekend holiday festivities. Devote at least three hours out of the season to make a holiday memory together. If you have children in school, you can plan a daytime outing before their last day of class.

Second, whether you are hosting a holiday party or attending one, make a pact with your husband that both of you will each initiate a physical touch of some kind three times during the event. That means you will connect in some way throughout the party a total of six times. This helps avoid the holiday hazard of driving together to an event only to realize at the end of the party that the only time you’ve spent together was in the car.

Kathy Dawson is a Cleveland Heights author and relationship coach. If you would like your anonymous relationship question answered in a future column, send it to Dawson at To learn more, visit  

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Volume 2, Issue 12, Posted 1:07 PM, 11.25.2009