Working Through Your Holiday Expectations

Holiday Expectations - AdobeStock_71655229You’ve probably seen movies in which the following scenario is played out Hollywood style. The relationship of a happy newlywed couple gets severely tested with fights, hurt feelings, and estrangement over family holidays. These happen, only to be wonderfully resolved in 1 1/2 hours! For some couples, such a scenario is reality (except for the 1 1/2 hour resolve time). It is all a part of what they have to do to work through their holiday expectations.

It’s discomforting to make choices between loved ones on such occasions. And it might be this way for you until you become parents and begin to develop your own family holiday events.

Holiday Expectations and Destinations

Sometimes the question is not only where you spend holidays but also how you spend them. [You need more than “battle-free holiday magic, you need to better plan. You also need to work through your expectations, asking the Lord to give you insights to establish peace.] Both of you may have different styles of doing Christmas. One, for example, may think Christmas is pagan —no trees or presents allowed! The other may get ecstatic over decorating a tree with a zillion ornaments, piling gifts to the ceiling, and leaving cookies out for Santa Claus!

Likewise, Easter can be a time of purely celebrating Christ’s resurrection or it can be a time of little or no spiritual content —a time of chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts. So, what do you do? Let’s find out!

Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter Holiday Expectations:

1. Describe your family’s (or your) style of doing:

    • Thanksgiving:

    • Christmas:




    • Easter:

3. How will you handle subsequent family holidays?

4. Do you anticipate issues or problems with your parents over your holiday choices? Explain.

5. How important is it to celebrate Christmas with a tree and all the lights, decorations, stockings, etc.?

    • Very …   Moderately …  Not at all

6. How important is gift giving at Christmas?

    • Very …   Moderately …  Not at all

7. Do you want to celebrate Christmas with a manger scene and other biblical depictions?

Santa Claus and reindeer?

8. Will you promote Santa Claus (even as pretend time) to your children? What are your views on promoting the Santa Claus story to children?

Holiday Expectations – Halloween?

9. Explain your views about Halloween.

10. Will you let your children dress in costumes and go trick-or-treating? If so, what kind of costumes will you permit?

11. What are your views about a church-sponsored event on Halloween?

Anniversaries and Birthdays:

12. How important is celebrating anniversaries?

    • Very … Moderately … Not at all

How important is gift giving on anniversaries?

    • Very … Moderately … Not at all

And how important is celebrating birthdays?

    • Very … Moderately … Not at all

How important is gift giving on birthdays?

    • Very … Moderately … Not at all

13. Explain how you want to celebrate anniversaries.

14. Explain how you want to celebrate birthdays.

15. If you have differences regarding holidays and other special occasions, how are you resolving these differences?


Parting thoughts about anniversaries:

For women, more so than for men, anniversaries are very special occasions. They are full of meaning and importance. Women want their spouses to remember their anniversary without any hints. They look forward to special treatment on these occasions with flowers, and intimate, thoughtful gifts. These types of gifts include jewelry or perfume (not cookware or vacuum cleaners). They also like to be treated to dinner at a nice restaurant, and other such things.

Women want to know they are deeply loved and esteemed. Anniversaries are a time when the expectation for such affirmation is at its highest. It behooves a husband to know his wife in this matter. These things are so important to women that they are easily wounded by careless neglect and forgetfulness. Moreover, the wounds and pain can stay within them a very, very long time —even years.

This worksheet is part of a chapter titled “Roles and Expectations” that came from the very practical book, “Building Your Marriage Upon the Rock.” It’s an in-depth pre-marital workbook “with the Bible as your authority and guide.” It is written by Mike Williamson and published by Genesis 224. Sadly, this book is no longer being published.

— ALSO —

Additional linked articles for you to read, concerning this issue are as follows:





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