As men go, I don’t think any of us are surprised by the fact its almost Christmas, but I do think we get surprised by the amount of chaos that comes along with it every year. For myself, it’s right around mid-November that my wife starts bringing up the need to get the decorations out and discusses her design for her yearly wreath making craft. Now don’t get me wrong, she does an amazing job on her wreaths, but I know these notions are only a small sign of what’s to come with the holidays.
Christmas tree’s, christmas lights, garland, the ornaments, Christmas scented candles and cookies are next on the list. These are just a few things that come up before the big day even hits and they alone can be overwhelming at times.
(Photo by LightStock.com: Faith focused, Cheesy-Free Stock Photos)
This year is different for my family, instead of traveling home for the holidays to stay with extended family, we are going to stay in our own home and have our own little Christmas. This idea seems good in the sense that we won’t have to worry about splitting up Christmas day with both families or trudging ourselves through inches of northern snow, but it also means family won’t be around. As a husband, it means I won’t be able to get out of the cookie baking thing by pawning it off to her sister. It means we’ll have to actually put up the tree and decorate it. And most importantly, it means I will be the one who needs to step up and assist my wife with all of the holiday decorations and traditions that she finds important to her.
Now, if you’re thinking I don’t like Christmas, you have it completely wrong. I love Christmas and will admit that it’s my favorite Holiday. I love that fact that, even though our culture is at war with Christ, we still celebrate His birthday and what it meant to all of mankind. I love giving gifts to my wife and now my son, who is only 2 years old. I can only imagine the excitement he’ll have come Christmas morning. But after saying all of that, I admit that I’ve never been big on decorations and traditions. The only ones I can really remember doing growing up was decorating the tree with my ornaments and going out to a nice Christmas Eve dinner. Those were it and I was ok with it.
My wife, on the other hand, loves decorating the house and keeping up traditions. I believe she has me down to a science now to where she’ll start asking me to get the decorations out about 3 weeks before she really needs them out because she knows it might just take that long for me to get them. She grew up baking Christmas cookies, decorating the tree and the house and making hot cocoa the drink of choice throughout the holiday. There’s nothing wrong with her love for these things, and in fact, it’s exactly what I need.
So if you’re like me and you find or have found yourself dreading the decorating or traditions, then I encourage you to take a step back and suit up for the season. Stand up and recognize that if the season is important to your wife, or your spouse if this effect is the opposite, then you need to find ways to make it work.
Here are 5 ways to help you get through the holidays with your spouse.
1) Accept the fact that holiday traditions and decorations are important to your wife (or husband, if the opposite). I say this first, because it’s obvious in my family and in some other married couples I know that the wife is the main decorator and tradition keeper. If you know how much she loves certain things, then prepare yourself now for them.
2) Discuss what holiday traditions she looks forward to doing this year. As I said above, this year was going to be different than previous years and it was important to know just what decorations and traditions we would be doing. When Christmas is getting closer, take a moment to discuss the traditions and type of decoration your wife wants to do. Let her know what you would like to do as well. You could even make a list of items such as tree, lights, cookies, parties, presents, stockings and more. Try to identify as many as possible to avoid surprises and conflicts later down the road.
3) Schedule the activities in advance and together. One of the worst ways to approach the cookie baking experience is to surprise your spouse one night after a long day of work. Instead, and as my wife did, she told me in advance that she wanted to make cookies and that she would appreciate my help. And gents, a great way to make this easier is to make sure you have a good drink on hand. For me, a short glass of egg nog, topped with nutmeg helped out a lot.
4) Explore things that you like about the holidays. In my case, I knew that once we baked the cookies, there would be a time of decorating them. Well, to make the time more enjoyable, I suggested that we sit in the living room and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Not only did we get to decorate cookies together, but we were also able to have some great laughs together. Work together to try to make time enjoyable for the both of you. The stress of the holidays will be over before you know it.
5) Once you are engaged in the moment, ENJOY IT!
What is one holiday tradition or decoration that you look forward to doing every year?