By Amanda Gabriel and Dan Teano

Elm Staff Writers

Amanda says… Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas music is playing in almost every store which means that winter break is just around the corner. If you’re in a relationship with someone on campus being apart from them for a little over a month may prove to be a challenge. Don’t give up hope though because many relationships have survived over long distances. If you’re looking for ways to keep the spark alive over the holidays here are a few tips.

Make sure to communicate every day. As with any relationship, communication is key. Something as simple as a text that says “I miss you” or “I’m thinking about you” can make your partner’s day. Everyone loves to be reminded that they are cared for and just a single text will make the other person smile because you took the time to let them know how you’re feeling. Beware of texting each other too much, though. If you are constantly sending messages every other minute you will start to miss your partner that much more when they aren’t available for a few hours. Make sure to give each other space and then occasionally check in.

FaceTime or Skype dates are a must. Thanks to today’s technology you are able to connect with your significant other in ways that are not possible over a text message or a phone call. To give you each something to look forward to, plan your Facetime or Skype dates in advance. Video chat is the not as good as meeting up in person, but it’s the next best thing.

Send love letters. Handwritten notes may seem like a thing of the past, but no matter how old they are they will always be romantic. There is nothing like opening your mailbox and receiving a letter from someone you love. Taking the time to sit down and write the old-fashioned way is a creative and thoughtful way to keep the spark alive. Try spritzing perfume/cologne on the letter to add a little something extra. Our sense of smell is one of the strongest senses that relates to memory so when your partner opens it, he or she will instantly be reminded of you and your time together.

Try and visit each other if you can, but if you can’t, be patient. Some lucky campus couples may not live all that far from each other so it is possible that they will be able to connect over break. If you live hours away from one another, you must be patient. The break will end soon enough, and before you know it, you’ll be back together again. Try to keep yourself busy with family and activities, and think about how great it will be once you reunite again in January. Like the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Long distances can make or break a relationship, but if you communicate, set video chat dates, send mail, and, most of all, be patient, then you will be able to make things work between you and your significant other. After all, the break doesn’t last forever and when you come back to campus you may be stronger than you were the month before.

Dan says… While the winter season brings distant families together, it also divides college couples. During the extended holiday break, it is a given that couples will want to spend more time with each other, but as family time ought to top everyone’s priority list, those in a relationship may hardly see each other. With this separation, it is important that the spark in one’s relationship not come to a cold end with the snowy weather.

To keep the fire burning like a Yule log, the couple must find ways to communicate with each other in a way that is appropriate for the season. Since Christmas is a holiday of giving, it is absolutely necessary that partners exchange gifts. Considering the typical college budget, the gifts do not have to be expensive. With rampant holiday sales, if one does diligently research for the best deals, he or she should be able to find a quality gift for a cheaper price. If the discount is not enough, then the gift should be more thoughtful and meaningful. It is not true that the price tag determines the quality of a gift. As people have said time and time again, “It’s the thought that counts.” Something as simple as a handpicked and filled Christmas stocking with some favorite things can be more meaningful than high-quality jewelry.

Although family time dominates the holiday season a couple should strive to pick out one day where they can hangout. If distance allows, the couple should do Christmas-oriented activities. For instance, the pair can build a gingerbread house, decorate an ugly Christmas sweater for each other, or have a friendly snowball fight. Additionally, most big cities such as Philadelphia and New York set up grand Christmas displays that are a perfect fit for a romantic evening. If it is at all possible, the two should meet up in such locations, go ice-skating, visit quaint Christmas villages, and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate. Through these activities, every wreath, Christmas tree, and poinsettia flower will remind both partners of a joyous time together. With this, the relationship will grow stronger, even if the couple is far apart. Moreover, they can take advantage of the necessary family time. When one family is decorating their house, the

boyfriend or girlfriend can join in to help make the house look more festive. Besides, there is no better way to ensure that a relationship remains strong than having the approval of your significant other’s family.

Above all, it is most important to enjoy the distance and time apart. Remember that the holiday season is a time that is meant for the reunion of families. If time apart is valued and neither partner constantly demands to see the other, then both will end up loving and missing each other all the more. Sadly, some things like snowmen die by the end of the winter season, but that does not mean relationships have to as well.

Photo courtesy of candycanefacts.com

The Elm

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