Presents, mistletoe and cozy nights by the fire. What better time than the holidays for you and your S.O. to start up a romantic tradition? If you need inspiration, here are 12 easy ideas sure to heat up your holidays, every single year.
1. Write each other holiday love letters
"My husband Howard and I have been married for almost 10 years, and we started a tradition our first Christmas together. We wrote each other notes recounting the previous year together, including major events and minor ones. Then, we put our notes inside Christmas ornaments. Each year, we read the previous year's notes and add to them, plus we buy a new ornament."
2. Turn gift wrapping into a date
"My DH and I put the children to bed early, and then stay up late wrapping their presents. As the wrapping progresses, we end up talking about the year that's passed. We reminisce about everything our little ones have done, all their milestones (like starting preschool) and stumbling blocks (like cutting their own hair with play scissors -- ugh!), and how much they've grown since last Christmas. We always end up talking about the nights each of the girls were born. I get misty-eyed remembering how he stayed by my side the whole time, holding my hand and encouraging me. In the end, we break out a bottle of champagne and just snuggle up -- and that is the best Christmas gift I can think of!"
3. Steal alone-time on Christmas Eve
"When the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve, my husband and I turn the lights of the tree on, play soft holiday jazz, and open a bottle of wine that we always purchase the New Year's before, just for this night. We dance together and share moments of the past season. Then, we get in one last romantic moment -- just us. Before the kids wake up on Christmas morning we share a quiet cup of espresso. It is time well spent."
4. Do holiday crafts together
"Every year, we make a new menorah for Hanukkah. This year's is made out of seashells we found during the summer. Even after our daughters get tired of the project, my husband and I sit at the table and spend the creative time together."
5. Give secret gifts
"My live-in boyfriend and I put up stockings and secretly stuff each other's from Thanksgiving until Christmas. We promise not to peek until that special day when we open our presents together."
6. Give expected gifts
"One year, before the holidays, my boyfriend and I were shopping together and I saw a huge stuffed dog that I just loved. He acted like I was being silly. But on Christmas day he picked me up from work with the dog sitting in the passenger side! It was so romantic because he showed me that he paid attention to me, and what I liked. Even though we still surprise each other with some gifts, making a tradition out of giving these expected gifts shows that we really know how to make each other happy."
7. Sit down for a romantic holiday meal
"On Christmas Eve we feed the kids a regular dinner, but after they are in bed, we set the dining room table with nice china, light our candles, and have our own fancy dinner. Seafood and other favorites that aren't "kid foods." It's our own private restaurant, complete with our favorite Christmas carols or other romantic music. We even dress nicely. It's like a date without having to leave the house or pay for a sitter."
8. Plan a getaway
"My husband and I were married on December 30, so the holidays are doubly special. We try to take a mountain trip sometime during December to celebrate and have alone time. My favorite getaway though is the one we have at home. On that night, the kids go to Grandma's, and we share a nice wine, cheese and seafood spread, just for us."
9. Start your holiday with romance
"On Christmas morning, after opening each other's presents, my husband and I cook a big, festive breakfast. We use china, crystal and even bring out the champagne and orange juice. The best part is that we do it all in our PJs!"
10. Keep a holiday love journal
"We have a 'Christmas book.' Every year my husband, children and I write an entry in this holiday-themed blank journal. It's like we have one place where all our Christmas cards to each other are saved!"
11. Soak up the lights
"I love when the tree is finished. When you turn all the lights in the house off, except for the tree, it's always so magical and romantic."
12. Volunteer together
"There are so many groups that help the homeless and needy during the holidays. Joining in is a wonderful way to contribute to society and spend time with my special someone."