My Worst Holiday Season Ever

December 11,2018

How did the holiday season affect your relationship last year?

Last year was perhaps my worst holiday season ever.

I got the horrific flu that was going around last winter (did you get it too?), and had to be quarantined to my childhood bedroom and miss all the festivities at my parents’ house. When I tried to rally on the final day of my vacation, I got in a massive fight with my brother over a game of Charades. (The joys of family dynamics!)

Needless to say, it was not a romantic or sexy time for Xander and I, and we started 2018 feeling exhausted and depleted.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays! My mom is Mexican and my dad is Jewish, so I celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah and love them both!

But I also know from plenty of first-hand experience that the holidays can be really rough, especially on your relationship.

Between all the traveling, eating and drinking, family dynamics, and money spending, it’s hard to find the time, energy, or the motivation to be a good partner.

So we’re going to be spending all of this December helping your relationship survive the holidays. I know this is an insane time of year, so I have your back with tons of ideas and resources!

This month, I’ll be sharing four gifts your partner REALLY wants this holiday season. No, they’re not physical gifts. They’re ways that you can take care of your relationship and your partner.

You’ll also be getting my absolutely free, 31 Days, 31 Ways challenge, which will give you small, actionable ways to prioritize your relationship every single day.

I’m dedicated to helping your relationship thrive – not just survive – during the holidays, and to set 2019 up to be the best year for your relationship yet!

The gifts your partner REALLY wants this year

The gift that I want to discuss this week is the gift of planning.

I know that sounds not at all sexy, but bear with me for a second!

You already know how hard it is to prioritize your relationship during the holidays. But so many couples go into the season without a plan.

If you’re not intentional about nurturing your relationship during the holidays, your relationship is really going to suffer.

So this year, give your relationship the gift of planning!

While we’re still at the beginning of the month, sit down with your partner and your calendars, and map out what this month is going to look like for you. Are you traveling? Are you going to have visitors? What holiday parties are you going to?

Then, schedule an hour of quality time together every week.

You can have a date night. You can schedule sex. You can plan to spend that time together in your pajamas, doing absolutely nothing but sitting in front of the fireplace, drinking hot toddies.

But spend at least one hour of quality, uninterrupted time together every week.

Put it on your calendars and guard that time with your life!

If you can, try to schedule your quality time as early in the day or evening as possible.

If you try to schedule quality time after a company holiday party or celebratory dinner, you’re probably going to be too full (or tipsy) for true quality time with your partner.

This is especially true if you’re trying to have sex during your quality time. After a plate of my grandma’s Christmas tamales, the only reason I want to take my clothes off is to change into sweatpants!

Plus, if you’ve had good quality time with your partner, you’ll be much more relaxed going into a potentially stressful holiday function. (And if you’ve just had sex, it will feel like you and your partner have a fun little secret that nobody else knows!)

Here are some other ways you can give the gift of planning to your relationship:

The 31 Days, 31 Ways Challenge

I also created a brand new – and absolutely free – challenge for you and your partner!

Throughout the month of December, you’ll get 31 daily challenges to complete with your partner, all about different ways to show your love to each other. The challenges are designed to be small and manageable.

The 31 Days, 31 Ways challenge will help you prioritize each other, reconnect, fall even more in love, and feel inspired to keep working on your relationship together as a team.

All you have to do to participate is sign up for my email list here.

Another great way to prioritize your relationship this month is to get each other sexy gifts! Click here to check out my recommended products!


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!