All our married lives (twenty years now!), my husband and I have struggled to find balance during the holidays. I love the holidays. For me, there is no over the top. For me, if it stands still during the holiday season, I decorate it. You know those women in ridiculous Christmas tress sweaters with actual ornaments hanging off? That’s me. Those women with fake candy corns in her hair? That’s me. Easter egg necklace? Also me.
My husband on the other hand … well, he is perfect in so many ways. He’s handy. He can cook. He’s a good provider. I couldn’t ask for a better husband. But when it comes to holiday cheer? Well, it’s just dismal. He’s like the black hole of holiday cheer. His mere presence actually sucks it out the room.
But an interesting thing has happened around Halloween the past few years. He’s had … well, not holiday spirit, but Halloween spirit. It started when my daughter was three and he wore a Prince Charming T-shirt we’d made him. It’s been slowly escalating ever since. He’s because devoted to pumpkin carving (and uses serious tools!) This year, he’s spent all week working on the boy’s costume. He’s going as a character from a video game and let me tell you, this costume is going to be amazing. I’m delighted by this sudden show of holiday spirit.
But I’m also a little baffled. And distressed.
I came to the marriage pre-loaded with Christmas and Easter traditions. In my family, the holidays are a big deal. At Easter, you die eggs. Lots of them. At Christmas you open presents. Lots of them. And the TV is not on in the background no matter how long it takes. When it comes to holiday traditions in our family, I kind of put my foot down. It seemed like a no-brainer. I love the holidays. He didn’t seem to have an opinion. Therefore we should do it my way.
Now, seeing his newfound love of Halloween, I wonder if he saw my way as my family’s way. Not our family’s way. I wonder if he’s grumpy around the holidays because he doesn’t like the holidays or because he feels like his opinion about them doesn’t matter.
It makes me sad to think he might feel that way. And frankly, I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t mean to be inflexible, but … well, there are things I’m inflexible about. I’m not okay with Duck Dynasty playing in the background while we open presents. I’m not okay handing our kids a hundred bucks and telling them to buy something they want. But this year, I’m going to try to include The Geek more in the planning and execution of the holidays. I’m going to encourage him to play more. Because they are his holidays, too.
But, seriously. No Duck Dynasty.
How do you celebrate the holidays?