The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Christmas Shopping Traditions: The Wife's & The Husband's

My Christmas shopping exploded when I met my husband.  I’m the third of eight children and our family gift traditions were simple.

My husband had only his father, his brother and his brother’s girlfriend.  But their tradition was (and remains) to buy each other five or six gifts.  And then there were “gifties” for the close friends that are his extended family. 

And my husband-to-be never started shopping before December 20th.  His routine was going to a big mall, feeling so totally overwhelmed and freaked out that he became paralyzed and went home nearly empty handed.  The real shopping happened between noon and six on Christmas Eve.  I played along the first year and hated it, but somehow felt it was my role to support his holiday routine.  He loved having me with him.  

I introduced the idea of a shopping list during our second year together.  He thought this was terrific.  I’d list the names and pencil in gifts as the shopping progressed.  We even brainstormed a few ideas before we hit the mall.  When we wrapped up the buying on Christmas Eve, he said this was the smoothest year ever. 

I was exhausted.

Once we had a son, I knew things had to change. I was determined not to do all of his shopping and more determined not to be at the mall on the weekend before Christmas.  I scheduled my mother to come for a full day of babysitting in early December.  Although this felt like shopping on Labor Day to my husband, he complied and we did the lion’s share of our shopping and had a nice lunch and dinner out.  Kind of a combined date night/shopping extravaganza.  During our newlywed years, this new holiday tradition was one we embraced.

This routine worked for several years and then evolved into an annoyance.  My husband felt I was taking over by scheduling when he had to shop.  He didn’t feel like he had enough say in what we bought or where we shopped.  He didn’t feel like going on the day my mother appeared.  He’d rather wait until the right mood hit.  He claimed I had not even told him that my mother was coming.  (What I say and what my husband hears and remembers is another story. I absolutely adore him but he is a man.)

I have shopped early and alone the past few years.  I am happy.  I am done well before December 20th.  I am more relaxed and enjoy holiday parties without a shopping list running in my brain.  I don’t shop for my husband’s brother or for myself.  When my husband begins panicking on December 22nd over what he needs to accomplish before December 24th, it’s his problem.  He kinda likes the new me and kinda doesn’t.  

He likes that he does not have to do as much since I  shop for our son, our nieces and nephews and our friends.  He doesn’t like that he has no say in my gift selections.  He recognizes that the train has left the station and he is a passenger, not the conductor.  He finds great and creative gifts for me, bought at trendy, hip neighborhood boutiques where I can never justify shopping but love getting gifts from. 

It’s mostly all good.

Don’t get me started on getting the Christmas lights up on the house.  It’s the one decorating function I refuse to do.  It’s all about compromise, right?

By Marianne Lonsdale

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