When we think about how to express our love over the holidays, we often get caught up on grand gestures like expensive gifts or fancy dinners out. But, it’s the little day to day gestures that build connection and communicate how much we care. These small acts of kindness take little to no time at all and help ensure that your spouse feels how much you appreciate them during the most wonderful time of the year. Not sure how to add to the holiday cheer with a little thought that says “I love you?” Here’s 20 ideas to get you started:

  1. Draw a heart on the mirror with liquid soap. When the shower steams up the room, your secret message will appear.
  2. Sometimes the thing that we need most is to buy time by doing things ourselves. Offer to take the kids out on the weekend so your spouse can decorate and prepare for the festivities in peace. Tackling holiday projects or getting a jump start on meal preparation saves time and relieves the stress of having to stop repeatedly and circumvent another sibling disagreement.
  3. Make their favorite dessert. This is especially kind when it’s not a favorite of yours! When you are the one doing the cooking, it can be easy to fall into the habit of making the dishes you like best. Specifically making your spouse’s favorite dessert shows how sweet you are on them.
  4. Return their car with the gas tank full. There’s nothing that throws your day off quite like realizing that your gas tank is empty when you have a million gifts still to buy. Save your spouse some aggravation by making a point to return the car ready to go.
  5. Give your partner a sincere and unexpected compliment. This takes no extra time, money or effort. “You are the best gift giver. I love how you make the holidays so special for me.” “You look stunning in that red dress.” Flattering your spouse makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside.
  6. Hide a love note in their lunch. An unexpected loving note can make their day.
  7. Watch their favorite show with a smile even if you have to suffer through it. It feels good to share the things you enjoy with the one you love.
  8. Create a holiday playlist of your favorite songs. Give them something memorable to enjoy while driving.
  9. Do the chores on their list so they can have a little downtime. Imagine how good it will feel to know that they have the evening to do with as they please (or wrap those last-minute gifts that still need to go under the tree).
  10. Run an errand they’ve been putting off. We all have those tasks we dread. Checking one off their to-do-list relieves your loved one of stress.
  11. Finish a project they’ve been wanting you to do. If you’ve procrastinated on putting up the blow up Santa including all twelve of his reindeer and sled, finish it as an act of kindness to your spouse.
  12. Give them a hand, foot or scalp massage. Help release the tension of the day.
  13. Send an email about your favorite holiday memory of the two of you together and recreate it in some way. It’ll make a nice surprise in between the parties, house guests and additional expenses.
  14. Dress up like you’re going out even though you’re spending the evening in together. They’ll appreciate your effort to look your best.
  15. Leave a Post-It love note on their computer screen.
  16. Make a list of all the things you love about your spouse, then tuck it in a card for them. A list of your favorite qualities is a keepsake they can look at over and over.
  17. Surprise them with a warm towel after their shower. Throw it in the dryer for a few minutes on a cold day.
  18. Get up early on the weekend to make their favorite breakfast. They’ll wake up to a meal made with love.
  19. Have their car cleaned and detailed. It’s easy to neglect details like this when you’re busy. They’ll love having a cleaner car to run errands with.
  20. Pick up their favorite holiday snack while you are out. Tiny treats let them know they are on your mind.