Wanna Wrap Up Some Romance?
Forget about slippers and perfumed bath sets — here's how to give your sweetie something they'll REALLY want this season.
Sure the holidays bring merriment, but they can deliver a serious serving of stress, too, particularly when it comes to the romantic relationships in your life. Add extended family gatherings, a long list of chores and the hectic pace of modern life and you don't exactly have an ideal recipe for romance.
"Between the children, the tasks and the responsibility of holiday planning there's a shortage of time," explains Dr. Jay Frankel, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in South Orange and Manhattan. "It's very important to create the barrier of taking time for oneself and your partner."
It doesn't have to be substantial amounts of togetherness, just quality. " 'Catching' a few minutes here and there doesn't work — you need to plan time to be together, even if it's a walk after dinner," says Frankel. "You need to make the commitment to 'be' with each other in a way that you can show interest and actually listen to your partner."
Frankel believes connective interaction can go a long way to recharging your romance. "It's as simple as making oneself available, feeling listened to and listening," he says.
Certified massage therapist Sue Rexford of Bodhi Tree thinks touch is also a wonderful way to reach out to your partner. "A simple backrub goes a long way," says Rexford. "It shows that you're thinking of the other person — and care about taking care of them."
That restorative and healing component of contact is a big part of Bodhi Tree's philosophy, and Redford believes massage is a wonderful gift to give yourself or others during the stress of the holiday season. "People think of professional massage as luxurious, but it isn't self-indulgent — it's mental and physical health care."
Rexford believes making another person feel pampered is just about the most romantic gift you can give. "My husband enjoys facials, so I'll often give him a certificate for a series of them," she says. "It's about gifting the sentiment of genuinely wanted to see your loved one taken care of.
In addition to offering couple massage, Bodhi Tree also teaches private massage classes, which Rexford says are really helpful in helping partners reconnect. "In addition to technique, it's about teaching people to really listen to the needs of each other. It creates a different, very positive sort of communication that carries over to all areas of the relationship."
Mary Meade, of DinnerSmith, says the stomach is also a great path to your partner's heart, too. "It's such a wonderful experience to share great food," says Meade. "And walking into a home filled with the scents of a delicious dinner it creates such a warm, comfortable and happy atmosphere."
Meade's company, DinnerSmith is a personal chef service that provides pre-assembled wholesome gourmet family meals to cook at home. The business recently relocated to South Orange from Maplewood and offers gifts certificates ensure that the giftee will have to serve up fewer answers for to the dreaded 'What's for Dinner?' question.
"In addition to great meals, what we really deliver is significantly less stress to the household and a lot more sanity. There's no prep, no shopping and much less cleanup. Just 20 minutes in the oven and you're sitting down to a family meal where the whole family — including Mom and Dad — come to the table much more relaxed. It gives back extra time, which we could all use — especially this time of year."
So whether you're thinking about gifting your sweetie with gourmet meals, pampering, dance lessons or even a certificate for a cleaning service, the fact you're thinking about their gift is what will ultimately make it truly special:
"Picking a great gift just requires sincere thought," says Frankel. "Think of what your partners really enjoys and likes — then when you pick the present take a second to visualize how they'll react to receiving it."
That way, you'll know you're on the right track to wrapping up some real romance this holiday.