Holiday Grouch?

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?

3 thoughts on “Holiday Grouch?

  1. We struggle with the holidays too, Emily, because I want it to be a certain way, and Ultimate Sportsfan wants to…well, watch sports while decorating the tree. I want Christmas carols playing! It’s always sort of been my opinion that the person who has the most invested in the holiday (in the case of Christmas me because I do most of the work) should have the final say. My husband is way more into birthdays than I am. We never made a big deal of them in my family and did I mention I got a car from hubby on my last birthday? So when he wants to make a big deal over a birthday, I let him and I try and follow his lead on that.


  2. I think that merging or blending how familes celebrate the holidays is the toughest. My dad came from a rather non-holiday celebrating home to marry my mom whose family goes all out.. and loved it.. and embraced it because it was so much fun. His family lived in the country, his mom died when he was young… so there wasn’t the in-town family and walking distance friends who when carolling from house to house, etc.
    And by the way, Halloween comes in 2nd to Christmas on money spent for decor, etc. So it’s now the HallowHanakaChristmas season… as always.. ask the question.. what do you like best and why…


  3. Over the last couple of years I’ve decided to not dominate the holiday season. I noticed how hard it was for all of us to have a good time if one person does all the planning, decorating, shopping, etc….It would always fall on my shoulders to do all that besides work (part time) and take care of 4 kids and take care of an invalid mother-in-law. Although I didn’t mind most of the holiday stuff, I’d end up overwhelmed and burned out. And the hubby and kids would just go through the holiday with little more than disinterest. Then a couple years ago, my dad passed away very suddenly less than 2 weeks before Christmas and I was needed out of state to take care of things for several days, leaving everyone else to do all that I would have normally have done. Turned out that the kids didn’t mind the extra work, and although the hubby still hates to spend money during the holidays, he seems to have more cheer when he has more involvement in holiday shopping. Now, I don’t even have to lift a finger when it comes to decorating–they all take charge (which makes me happy), and although it may not be done to my “specifications” (read as “perfect”), it is what makes the house seem much more joyful, which is so much more important to me. 🙂


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