7 Leadership Skills to Survive the Couples Christmas Shopping Carnage

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It’s that time of year where the shops are full and packed, the crowds are frenzied and couples face warfare in their quest for providing the perfect presents for those close to them. Scattered around shopping centres and malls at this time of year are exhausted couples, weighed down by shopping bags and emotional baggage, looking lost and defeated.

Husbands, sitting patiently as they await their wife while she browses yet another fashion store. While rolled eyes are the female characteristic as the husband looks yet again through the assorted ranges of sporting/electrical/book stores as they contemplate the age old conundrum of “what to buy”.
Pat Benatar sang about love, but but the true battlefield is couples Christmas shopping.

It certainly looks different to the way our shopping centers advertise. They marketing almost reeks of smiling couples as they seemingly skip their way to their shopping visit. It is far removed from reality.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Implement a couple of leadership strategies and the day can become more efficient and effective and both parties have the opportunity to come home smiling.
So how can we do this? Implement these seven leadership tips and survive your Christmas Couples shopping trip.


Take some time to share each others vision for the day. Create an expectation for the shops to be visited and the potential gifts of reach person. By sharing this vision, planning and communication can take place and even some rudimentary strategy on how to achieve. The damage for couples Christmas shopping is when they don’t have direction and the general aim is to wander around and see what is there. Fraught with danger, folks…and this is where we see the greatest pain. Share your vision for the day and each partner will be clear on what is to be achieved. Remember though, people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. Be authentic.

Communication Clarity

Often under times of stress, communication between partners can be reduced to a series of grunts, nods and forced smiles. Couples Christmas shopping can bring out emotions that we are not proud of. There is good news. If you have shared the vision and each other is clear on the outcome, communication can become a monitoring tool as you go. Keeping each other on track and monitoring progress is the key and this can only happen with clarity of communication.

Planning and strategy

Once our vision is clear and we have opened up the communication channels, now is the time to plan and strategise the day. This is most beneficial and is usually best done over a coffee and muffin. List the shops to visit and the potential gifts to purchase, plot them on a centre map and you have a plan and a strategy. By doing this, you also have the potential to eliminate potential awkwardness associated with the experience. For example, visiting a lingerie shop for presents may present the best opportunity for the other partner to visit the shops that they get enjoyment from. Another danger lurks and is ever present. Set yourself time limits on the time apart and an agreed meeting place. Then respect that and deliver.


At times, the shopping may not go to plan. This is when you need to remind each other of the vision and desired outcomes. This is also usually a great time to share a brainstorming session, again over coffee and a muffin, to amend the plan to achieve the outcome. The last thing either party wants is to come home without an outcome and contingency planning is part of the successful shopping excursion. Remember, change the plan and not the goal.

Reward and Recognition

Take the time to celebrate your victories along the way. A simple high five or a playful slap on the backside may be some of the agreed methods of keeping each other motivated and to celebrate the wins and purchase. If that fails, you could always stop for coffee and muffins.


Teamwork is needed. Be aware of who needs to have their hands free when entering a shop. If the wife is the best person to be handling the purchase, the husband should offer to carry the bags, and vice versa. This ensures that maximum efficiency is maintained and no time is lost when handling and purchasing goods. The load should be shared throughout the remainder of the day. Remember if both people have the objective to make the day easier and more effective for the other, teamwork will flourish.

Trust and respect
One of the key measurements at the end of the day should be the trust and respect for each other should be increased by the end of the day. Keep this front of mind and be aware of any emotional feelings or frustrations you may be having. Keep trust and respect to the forefront and think of the other person before blowing off.

Be the exception.

Often when you walk in together into a shopping centre you will see the human collateral from the shopping zone. Hen-pecked husbands, exhausted and exasperated wives…. dreaming of never having to return to the Christmas shopping zone. But if you remember those simple leadership strategies you can leave the war zone as the exception, two loving partners looking forward to the gift of giving this Christmas.

1. Share the vision
2. Keep clarity of communication
3. Plan and strategies effectively
4. Create contingency when needed to achieve the outcome
5. Reward and recognise your victories along the way
6. Teamwork makes the dream work.
7. Maintain and increase trust and respect.

Question. What other leadership tips can you provide to help couples overcome the fatigues of Christmas shopping?

Question . What can you do better with your partner, next time you are out and about?

Question. What could you do to convince an unwilling partner the effectiveness of build leadership strategies into your Christmas shopping?

Good luck….

Tony Curl is the founder of Leadership, Life and Style and is a Leadership Coach. He survived couples Christmas Shopping this Christmas and has a liking of a Skinny Flat white with a muffin.
He supports business owners and career executives in building Simply Better Leaders. He provides coaching programs to Break the Shackles of Self-Limitations and to close the gap from your current reality to your greatest potential. He has worked with Steve Maraboli to develop the Four Pillars of Success, goal achieving workshop being held on February 7
Tony Curl

Tony Curl

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