Holidays. Meh.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States – our annual harvest festival where we all eat too much while giving thanks for all the stuff we have. In theory anyway. Some people follow the gorging ritual with midnight shopping sprees, to buy even more stuff.

Sounds like a job for The Distaff Side!

Women do most of the holiday work. “Wait!” You may say. “My husband loves to bake his triple-chocolate cake for Christmas,” or “My Uncle Joe makes the best turkey!” Sure, men do their part, but the brunt of the work – certainly the grunt of the work (the planning, the budgeting, the shopping, the decorating, the cooking, the hosting, the cleanup) piles overwhelmingly onto women.

Not that most women view this all as a thankless task. Most women I know – especially retirees and women who don’t work outside the home – LOVE holidays. They really look forward to them. Get excited about them. Work hard for them. Enjoy them. And then feel let down or resentful when it’s not as perfect, or as fun, or as appreciated, as they’d hoped.

Why? Two reasons, I think:

  1. If you have a busy life, whether it’s with work, kids, school, volunteering and other obligations, your days are full already. A holiday is fun and a break from the routine, but it’s also a lot of work – work that piles on to the work you already have.
  2. If you do not have a busy life, you have little to do and little to look forward to. Holidays, birthdays, vacations and other events take on epic levels of importance. You really want to go all out. But the busy people in your life don’t see it your way.

Each side of this divide needs to give the other side a break.

If you’re in the “busy” camp, practice saying “no” to whatever holiday obligations irk you most. The holiday won’t be “ruined” because you ran out of time or money or energy to follow some hallowed tradition. Decide on your priorities and stick to them. Outsource thankless tasks.

If you’re in the “not busy” camp, practice having something to look forward to besides holidays. There’s no reason why you can’t cook your special holiday dish anytime, or why you have to wait for a holiday to do some cherished activity. Recognize that not everyone has the time, money and energy you have.

Finally, both sides can eat less, buy less, decorate less and do less. Look instead for those moments that make a holiday memorable. No one’s going to remember in 5 years that the turkey in 2019 was especially delicious, but they will remember things that really matter.

Author: shoes15

I live in Connecticut, USA with my husband and my dog, in an old house outfitted with a sewing room, a garden, an orchard, and a big liquor cabinet.

4 thoughts on “Holidays. Meh.”

  1. Yumi Stynes had a great article about why women should go on strike this Christmas, I think you’d enjoy it: https://www.abc.net.au/life/yumi-stynes-on-why-women-should-go-on-strike-this-christmas/11628692

    I genuinely loathe being in chronic illness communities this time of the year because inevitably, they get flooded with complaints of women are have the absolutely shit lot of being expected to organise the whole affair, cater for everyone, and basically be a servant to their entire family despite having life-altering chronic illnesses. When someone talks about how their husband makes them cook a roast turkey even though they’re about to pass out from their condition, I have to restrain myself from commenting “DIVORCE HIM”.

    Like

  2. And great article – thanks for sharing.

    Very much minor story from me: For Thanksgiving we went to my in-laws and were asked to bring wine, so I told my husband to get it (I don’t drink much). I reminded him twice. He didn’t buy anything – including one time when he was driving RIGHT BY the wine shop he likes. The day before Thanksgiving he texted me when I was coming come from the gym “Can you pick up the wine?” and I replied “No.” So for Thanksgiving, he hauled a couple of dusty random bottles over to the dinner. Hardly anyone drank it. It was glorious!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s