Show Transcript for Episode 262: Making the Most of the Holidays

Announcer 00:00
The following content is not suitable for children.

George Faller 00:02
HO HO HO! Merry Christmas. Laurie Here we are.

Laurie Watson 00:07
Christmas Day. Merry Christmas je

George Faller 00:11
Merry Christmas and Christmas is the season the holiday season right for connection. It’s a one time a year we do slow down enough to take stock and say why are we here? What’s the whole point? The whole point is to is to love and to be with each other and to spend that time so let’s get in touch a little about that today. What do you think Laurie? It sounds good.

Laurie Watson 00:37
Welcome to foreplay radio, couples in sex therapy. I’m Laurie Watson, your sex therapist. And I’m George Faller, a couples therapist. And we are passionate about talking about sex and helping you develop a way to talk to each other. Our mission is to help our audience develop a healthier relationship to sex that integrates the mind, the heart and the body. For a great personal lubricant, please check out fubu.com and use the coupon foreplay to support us at the podcast. Don’t forget the stocking stuffers, dropping some Uber lube.

George Faller 01:12
Alright, so what uh, how are we going to help these couples out there, just maximize this special time not just take it for granted. And before you know, it’s the new year is here and we’re back into the rat race and grind the life.

Laurie Watson 01:26
I know, this is a lovely time many people have a couple of days off. And I just think having intentional conversations that deepen our relationship. You know, it’s an opportunity we’re spending time together. I loved what you said last week about talking and electronic free time. And, and so I I know that in my family, sometimes I like to do dinners where we just have questions that we try to brainstorm about what would be interesting, lots of Christmas questions just to understand, you know, even though we’re all together, and we think we know everything about each other, there’s so many feelings and thoughts that we don’t know. I also bought this game. It’s called Heuga game. I’ll show it to you again. g

George Faller 02:15
How do you spell it?

Laurie Watson 02:16
Okay. It’s HY gg E to Swedish word. And it means fun, cozy, basically cozy fun.

George Faller 02:26
What was the fun,

Laurie Watson 02:27
cozy fun, where you’re having pleasant conversation? neighbors, which we can’t have over right now. But family maybe and just time together. It’s not a elaborate deal. It’s just sitting by a fire, having blankets around having conversation, drinking a little bit of wine, cozy time, and talking and talking so so I thought I would pick a card. Because I think you’re tired, dude.

George Faller 02:56
No cozy time by the fire.

Laurie Watson 02:59
Cozy time by the fire. Yeah, that is fun. So this game has a bunch of cards. There’s a lot of different questions and you can choose what low paid job or profession deserves to be better compensated. That’s one question. Name something you look back at and think I can’t believe I was afraid of that. That’s a that’s a more interesting question to me. And who is the most likable person you know?

George Faller 03:25
And what do you suppose to just pick one?

Laurie Watson 03:27
Yeah, pick one.

George Faller 03:29
Okay. Something I was surprisingly scared of. Not to get anything Laurie. So again,

Laurie Watson 03:39
nothing you were afraid of.

George Faller 03:41
And you’re just teasing. I think. spiders.

Laurie Watson 03:45
spiders. Yeah. My husband’s afraid of spiders too. I’m the spider killer in my house. Are you not afraid of spiders anymore? Not.

George Faller 03:56
I think as having kids trying to get them not to be scared. It’s caused me to have to tell him if there’s about to be scared about while I’m hiding it on the inside. I tried. Especially Daddy Long Legs that kind of big and and really, they can’t even bite you. So there’s literally nothing to be afraid of.

Laurie Watson 04:16
Right. But they’re kind of creepy, like wispy legs and roof. Yeah, well, it’s funny.

George Faller 04:23
Well, it’s interesting how the brain works, right? How it doesn’t even get to your frontal cortex that they get part of your brain when you have Migdal they get so triggered. And your body’s already recoil any and moving away before you even have a choice.

Laurie Watson 04:39
Yep. And so you you overcame that or you you hide it at least well, so your boys will be good spider killers.

George Faller 04:49
Or we can get into a whole conversation around fear. Oh, any good therapy right is trying to get you to recognize that it’s actually less scary than you think it is. Mm hmm. So much of what we want to avoid is based on fear. And, and once any prolonged exposure good therapy is trying to get you to face that fear. And recognize that you got more power over it than you recognize

Laurie Watson 05:14
being in it. We can. We can know that. It’s just a feeling that it doesn’t take us. It doesn’t destroy us.

George Faller 05:20
Yeah, but I shouldn’t do this. Go into a lecture on fear if we’re having a family conversation around spot Navy,

Laurie Watson 05:26
not. Okay, so I’ve got three questions. Do you want me to answer something? Let’s see. Is it okay? Okay, I could answer all of these. Is it okay to not leave a tip when you receive bad service? Do you like talking to strangers on planes? What is the best, least important subject in school? Well, it’s not okay to not leave a tip. I’ll just make that short. I was a waitress and I was a terrible waitress. I was completely disorganized. It is not okay. Just leave a tip that for that poor person. Okay, do you like talking to strangers on plane? I love talking to strangers. I have had some of the deal one

George Faller 06:13
of those people. Okay.

Laurie Watson 06:16
I have had some of the deepest conversations with strangers on planes. I mean, it is so fun, right? Just this pocket of time where you’re never gonna see them again. And yeah, you can go deep really fast. It’s it’s totally one of my joys. I mean, I’m sensitive. If they’re reading a book, or they give me the signal, they don’t want to talk. I’m not gonna pester them. And when I

George Faller 06:42
you know, I appreciate that about you, Laurie, I think the world needs more of that. Right? I can sometimes be on a plane and throw in the headphones just to say like, I just need to disconnect and

Laurie Watson 06:54
I don’t want your signal.

George Faller 06:57
That’s a signal of like, have enough people time and I need to just unwind. And yet I agree. I think some amazing conversations can happen when you don’t really have an agenda. And all of a sudden, you’re talking about the weirdest things with a perfect stranger.

Laurie Watson 07:14
Absolutely. It’s so much fun. So much fun. It’s pretty cool. So we have some Christmas questions that we’re suggesting people ask their loved ones. And you know, just talking about things that we’ve done and that we’ve loved about each other in the past that you research shows that strengthens our love bond. And so it’s a good thing to to do, and especially if you can keep it warm and not controversial at the Christmas table or the Christmas bedroom. You know, this is this could be fun. One of my favorite questions is always to ask people about what happened when they were eight. I don’t know, maybe something happened to me when I was eight. But it’s such a different picture. You know, it’s a childhood picture. Maybe what they were feeling and thinking what was going on in their family life, it gives so much information about how they were raised and what they were feeling. And eight is a little bit before you’re jaded, you know, 10 if y’all have a 10 year old out there, that’s that’s a tough year to have Christmas with them because they’re, they kind of want so much and they’re so easily disappointed. But eight, eight is a little different. And so I like to ask that like what do you remember on Christmas when you were eight? What’s your or maybe what’s your earliest Christmas memory but I think that eight year is that eight here is a is a good year.

George Faller 08:40
Talking last time about the love language and gift. I remember when I was eight, my aunt gave me the Star Wars Death Star. It was the best present I’ve ever received in my life. I did not expect it, you know, not famous for giving big gifts. You know, we didn’t have that much grown up in my family of eight kids. So it was if I would have got a Star Wars man I was pretty happy. And I got this huge tat star like Well, you could put all the I mean it was I can still think about it today. And that that gift like I supposed to spend countless hours you know with my fingers on that, that that star and it’s just funny how how the power of that gift all these years later still brings a sense of kind of oxytocin hit my body

Laurie Watson 09:32
joy, I can see it all over your face. You know, you’re eight years old again. It’s like wow,

George Faller 09:36
it’s just that wow, that wow factor of like can can the world get any better than it is right now.

Laurie Watson 09:45
That is so great. Yeah. Sometimes and and just it being a surprise, right. Something unexpected and an odd who really knew you who really got it.

George Faller 09:56
Yeah. It’s so special because It just captures you in a way, that all these years later. So that’s these gifts are more than just what we need. I mean, these gifts are a way of, of really seeing and celebrating the person we love. Mm hmm.

Laurie Watson 10:20
That’s lovely.

George Faller 10:21
I’m sure a lot of our listeners have stories about Christmas, Carolyn, or a pickup football game, or you know, it’s not about, it’s just that you’re in the flow, right? You just you feel loved and cared for a part of something bigger than yourself.

Laurie Watson 10:38
Absolutely. That’s when I remember when I was eight, I belong to this very cool Episcopal Church. And we met in the YMCA. And there was this, this traditional Christmas party, it was called a waffle party and all the mothers made cookies. And so they were, you know, hundreds of cookies. And it was really just a beautiful night, there was always a pageant and there was good food and wassell is like spiced apple cider. And my mother always made the waffle. And so, you know, that was lovely. And, and something about it, I think it was, must have been candlelight, you know, they’re all I had all these friends and we would run around this whole facility. And we just had so much fun at this party. It was I mean, it was kind of the essence of Christmas, you know, people who loved each other celebrating life, spirituality, faith, you know, and community it was, it was a really special time.

George Faller 11:43
Nice to see you light up as your, your brain goes back in time and just replays the movie. Yeah. Come back, let’s get into some more of these holiday questions.

Laurie Watson 11:54
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George Faller 12:26
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Laurie Watson 12:39
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George Faller 12:57
and then makes a great stocking stuffer.

Laurie Watson 13:01
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George Faller 13:13
Whoo. Very excited. Laurie, upcoming Couples Retreat weekend. Great love, great sex. What an opportunity for couples to work on that sexual and emotional cycle.

Laurie Watson 13:28
I know I’m so excited we get to partner together to actually teach and share with couples. It’s going to be on Friday, February 5, and we’re really encouraging you to take the weekend away together to do this material with us. We’re going to have interactive parts, talking about the emotional connection the cycle, asking your partner questions, we’ll have little breakouts, we’re going to keep it fun, keep it hot. It’s going to be a fast day. We’ll start at 10am on Eastern Standard Time, February 5. Great love great sex. Find us on the website foreplay radio sex therapy.com and sign up.

George Faller 14:05
We don’t give many guarantees. But if you show up for this retreat, you will have conversations you’ve never had with your partner before. Got a G spot is a sentimental one. Why don’t we close our eyes where we sleep when we cry when we imagine when we kiss when we pray. Because the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen with your eyes. It must be felt with your heart

Laurie Watson 14:33
without more holiday questions to help you strengthen your bond and think about ways to share with your loved ones a little bit about yourself a little bit about your history a little bit about your inner world. So Laurie, What’s the next one? What’s your favorite part of the holidays, George?

George Faller 14:51
Yeah, it’s for me it’s Christmas morning. Opening up presence. Oh, still my favorite parts of my family Growing up there was it was a total Madhouse, oh my god 10 eight kids and two parents. And literally you’d wake up, you’d run downstairs and everybody will be a free for all. And it would just be like, would it be over like five minutes. total chaos, massive

Laurie Watson 15:16
chaos.

George Faller 15:18
My wife’s family tradition was much slower, which fits right? She’s more patient that everybody would watch one person at a time open at present. And that person would guess what it was before. And they had this whole long process. And so we’ve integrated more of her process. It’s and it’s it’s fun that we go one person at a time. And everybody has a bunch of gifts and stocking things. But it takes takes a while. But did you just see people get said, kind of respond to the gifts you picked out or the gifts you’re getting? It’s just it’s a cool process to just come together. I’m like always wanting to know what’s in a gift. And then my wife would get into a story. They forget about the gifts. I’m like, how do you forget about the gifts? Like what do you do? And it’s just cool. I have the family dynamics and different things.

Laurie Watson 16:11
Yeah, it’s definitely challenging oftentimes to merge two families together, right? I always say we don’t marry a person, we marry a family. There’s all these different holiday traditions that people bring into it. And oftentimes, maybe they don’t integrate it as well as you and your wife did. And there can be a struggle with that.

George Faller 16:31
My wife’s got these great ideas. It always seems like it takes some work this year’s Christmas photo is my son’s new pickup truck and put in a Christmas tree in the pickup truck. But you need lights and how you’re supposed to do that. And we’re supposed to drive to a park and it’s a before you know it. It’s a whole adventure. It’s me and my two sons were miserable in a picture. Picture. We’re like, Come on, let’s just take the picture. No, it’s not right. You gotta wait for this guy to do that. So it’s good. It is marrying two different cultures. Like I’m so appreciative. My wife puts the energy in to make it special. Yes, I could see my sons are more like me with their like, in patience. Have I come on? Come on. Let’s get going. Just take a picture.

Laurie Watson 17:13
I hope I get that picture this year. That’ll be really fun to see.

George Faller 17:17
It’s in the mail. Okay.

Laurie Watson 17:20
Lovely. So,

George Faller 17:23
so how about for you? Ah, my

Laurie Watson 17:24
favorite part of Christmas? Well, my favorite part of Christmas is definitely Christmas Eve. And I’m gonna say something about this about sex in a minute. But, you know, Christmas Eve is the setup, right? It’s all the pageantry, it’s the candles. It’s the meal. It’s the prep, it’s the gathering, you know, you dress up, sometimes we don’t dress up, but I I like it when everybody dresses up. And, you know, it’s just, it’s the before event. It’s all the anticipation. that’s, to me what’s so exciting. And, you know, I think that we vary typically, between men and women. You know, if men were to talk about it, saxes Christmas Day, you know, it’s opening the Presidents doing it. And and for women that interesting, anticipation is so exciting. You know, so it’s the lead up, it’s the romance. It’s what you’re saying to each other. It’s it’s all of that that kind of makes the whole event exciting and special.

George Faller 18:25
Oh, wow, we are so different. That it’s just so cool. how, you know, I just got to get through the Christmas Eve to get to the good stuff. Oh, wait a second. That is the good stuff, the Christmas dissipation setting the table, the kind of planning that all of that is, right. There’s such a turnout as you’re getting excited. And

Laurie Watson 18:49
yeah, it’s really cool. Yeah, setting the table. It’s a really big deal. For me, I do different things when you’re I did this Nutcracker theme where I had like, all kinds of different candy falling out of all kinds of different containers and nutcrackers on the table. And the children really liked that. They remember that one. It was fun. I do different things on the table.

George Faller 19:11
Okay, how do we make room for both to our listeners? For the person who likes the Christmas Eve anticipation? How does that partner join them more in that instead of seeing it as just work? Hmm, well, for the person who loves that morning, as the other partners see how important that morning is to kind of let go of the rules and the worry and then the structure and just kind of get lost in the moment of the rapture of just that process. It’s so easy to miss each other.

Laurie Watson 19:42
It is so easy to miss each other. It is so easy to see. The negative of the other experience like you said the work of it all. Or just the I guess the rash of it all.

George Faller 19:57
I’m feeling guilty right now thinking about it. I must be a killjoy for my wife when she’s trying to set the table that’s actually exciting to her. And to me, it’s like just give me a fork. So what it like, it’s it’s such a different mindset. So I’m gonna go change my mindset guys. I like

Laurie Watson 20:14
I like measure how far the fork is from the plate and from the edge of the table George. Downton Abbey all the way, you know,

George Faller 20:23
I might not ever get there, but I’m shooting for that talk. It’s

Laurie Watson 20:26
just it’s it’s the build up. I promise you. There’s a nice payoff on it.

George Faller 20:33
All right, I’m writing that down.

Laurie Watson 20:34
Okay. Deep requests. So George told us what his favorite gift was. But that’s a good question. What’s been your favorite gift? Is it. Any other favorite gifts that you’ve had?

George Faller 20:46
A lot of favorite gifts through the years? Depends developmentally. What age huh?

Laurie Watson 20:52
Give us another one.

George Faller 20:55
Oh, I liked getting a shotgun. Ooh,

Laurie Watson 21:01
how old were you?

George Faller 21:03
I was older. I was in my 20s. Who gave you the shotgun gifts? My father. Ah,

Laurie Watson 21:13
nice.

George Faller 21:15
You’re about you.

Laurie Watson 21:17
So you know, I have a tomboy part. Right? My favorite gift. I was 21. And I liked this guy a whole lot that we weren’t really dating. We were very, very good friends. We spent multiple days a week together. We were youth workers. And so you know, we were always dealing with kids and picking up kids and hanging out. And he gave me a buck knife. And he taught me how to open it with one hand. And so Oh, he’s cool flick. It was a really cool flag. And it you know, and I was just kind of on the brink of I mean, certainly I liked boys. And I was I was boy crazy, you know, but I wasn’t quite as comfortable yet in my femininity. And it was like I felt very seen, you know, like he got me. And so that was one of my very favorite guests.

George Faller 22:10
I didn’t see that one coming. Get it? It’s it really highlights how important the uniqueness of the gift and the timing of where you’re at. That just nails it right.

Laurie Watson 22:24
Yep. Yep. It was. Thank you, Glen, all these years later, still meaningful. And I think my my birthday is near Christmas, too. And my husband took me to the Messiah as a surprise. It was the concert. You know, it was this incredible. It was when we still lived in California. And it was just a huge surprise. And, and I love the whole music thing. You know. And so that was one of my all time favorite guests.

George Faller 22:53
Last year was at Rockefeller Center. radio set. And there’s something special about that time here with the Yes, it’s really really cool. Oh, neat.

Laurie Watson 23:05
What were you Why did you see what what was there?

George Faller 23:09
I think we saw a play. I’m not sure which was the name of it. But it was it was the afterwards that was more memorable for me. Just walking in the crowds and seeing a tree and just getting caught up in the buzz and that energy that literally you can feed off of I mean, I was just carried away in that Christmas joy. Hmm, it feels like an uptick and it just in Mary fun, or just in that area. So

Laurie Watson 23:38
and one of the things I’m hearing is like energy, but that energy is really exciting to you and fun for you. Like you talked about the energy of the huge chaos of opening all the gifts together and I can imagine partly just the energy of a family with eight children. I mean, it must have been, you know, 24 seven full of noise and energy. Yeah. Maybe you listen to that

George Faller 24:06
what we know emotions are contagious too. There’s no just bystanders. If someone around you is really happy before you know your body is taken and that happiness so exponentially it just gross. No wonder why when you’re in a place like Rockefeller Center and you see all these big smiles and people skating and laugh and it’s just cuz it does something that lifts your spirits. Hmm.

Laurie Watson 24:28
I like it. So other questions are what was your worst holiday and why? What was your best holiday and why? What do you remember about our first Christmas together with your partner? Also, I think it’s it’s important to think about, you know, meaning of the holidays, faith, maybe just meaning of love, all of that. What What about those? Which one do you want to answer?

George Faller 24:55
I love the question about your worst holiday just because It causes you to see the opportunity in talking about not just happy and fun. It’s about family connection, it’s also got to be about vulnerability and knowing how to repair and how do you inevitably there will be disappointments during this holiday season. Instead of letting that kind of crush you down, like how do you find connection in the down? So what, what’s an example of a negative holiday experience that you had?

Laurie Watson 25:30
Ah, gee, I think, let’s see, probably, in my childhood, one of our traditions was that Santa Claus would leave gifts unwrapped. And so you would run out on Christmas morning, and there would be a few select gifts, things that you had longed for and wanted, that would be left by Santa Claus. And they weren’t wrapped, which was very smart for my parents, right? Because it less rapping. And this was the year that my parents had separated. And so I ran out on Christmas morning, and there was nothing there, from Santa Claus. And I kind of went into my mother’s room, and I think my mother struggling probably depressed. I said, you know, there’s no Santa Claus gifts. And, and she said, Oh, yeah, I forgot. And, like, went ahead and did that. And I just remember the, you know, it brings tears to my eyes, but just that sense of, wow, everything is different. You know, I, I know that we, you know, when we work with couples, we want to go into the painful places right to because that’s where the healing needs to happen. And I think that, you know, just for families that have divorced, I always encourage them try to keep the traditions the same. And I’m sure it comes from that memory of, you know, how it felt like everything had been different and somewhat lost.

George Faller 27:00
Right? Oh, it’s so important. And thank you for risk and sharing that so many people, especially during COVID are gonna find it hard to celebrate. Mm. Right. There’s so much loss and you lost your job. You lost your house, you lost your family member, you lost dreams. I mean, it’s a lot of pain and hurt out there. Yeah. And it’s actually where we need people the most. Mm. So how do we, how do we find somebody who we can just share that with and are able to lean on?

Laurie Watson 27:33
Right?

George Faller 27:34
Right? To not face it alone? Because I think that’s the hardest part. There’s nothing more lonely than a holiday, in pain. by yourself.

27:44
Mm hmm.

Laurie Watson 27:46
I think that it is why Christmas became my favorite holiday. Like why I put so much effort into it, you know, not just for the children but for the child in me. You know, so that there’s there’s light and joy and anticipation and energy. But it’s so important.

George Faller 28:07
How about you lots of beautiful way to end it?

Laurie Watson 28:10
No, no. You got to tell us your worst Christmas and

George Faller 28:17
we can’t go over time I’d hate

Laurie Watson 28:20
tell us tell us your worst Christmas.

George Faller 28:23
I guess the worst Christmas would just be a family fight. You know, see my two older brothers literally fist fighting and people screaming at each other and mom cry in and this one doing that. And just the drama of a Wait a second. That’s not supposed to what it’s supposed to look like, huh? presence not open. And yeah, I think there’s a lot of pain in when families not working families are very similar. And I think it’s the human experience right of missing.

Laurie Watson 29:04
And especially I think in contrast to this part of you that loved the chaotic joyful part of your family at Christmas morning. For that to be the dark side of the chaos and anger and fighting and then that takes away the joy. I can imagine how disruptive that is and hard that was

George Faller 29:29
maybe I don’t remember any to holiday movies. Like Rudolph never shows up or snow man just melts and doesn’t come back to life I made it all ends happily ever after. That’s, that’s the holiday season. And yes, for most of us, that’s we’re gonna get let down some of the time with that. And that’s okay as long as you can do what Laurie

Laurie Watson 29:52
as long as you can repair and go again and I just want to say I appreciate you taking a few more minutes and telling us About your worst Christmas Thank you gee well that’s vulnerable to and we both shared a lot of vulnerable things this episode I I hope that sharing ourselves at Christmas with our foreplay fam is a gift to them I know that we’ve had a lot of people ask to talk a little bit more about you guys we want to know you and I think that that makes what we’re doing helpful to people so that they see us as real people and and again we’ve shared now some of the worst things and we know that this might be a difficult Christmas for some of you at during COVID We wish you peace. Wish you blessings we wish you blessings on this holiday on Hanukkah Christmas Kwanzaa. May there be peace on earth? Hey, don’t forget we are doing our Couples Retreat. And that is Great Love, Great Sex on February 5th You can sign up right now we’ve got a discount going until January 8. We’d love to have you join us for a whole day. George and I are inviting you to

George Faller 31:03
come join us

Announcer 31:04
calling your questions to the foreplay question. voicemail dial 833 my foreplay that’s a three three the number four play it we’ll use the questions for our mailbag episodes. All content is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for therapy by a licensed clinician or as medical advice from a doctor. This podcast is copyrighted by Foreplay Media