I am convinced that if women didn’t exist half the celebrations on earth would just disappear. My husband asked me to get a gift for his office party. I go out, buy a gift for someone I don’t know, who works in an office I’ve never seen, for a party I won’t attend so he can take it to some gift exchange. The gift I buy apparently makes the rounds as the worst gift at the party (hey, what do you want for a 15 dollar limit), then he comes back and acts like he’s embarrassed. “Oh by the way” to add insult to injury, my husband is Jewish. Why don’t husbands just exchange phone numbers, I’ll call the number and get exactly the right present for the person that answers the phone. I bought a set of nice tall candlesticks that I knew would look pretty on a holiday table. The “great gift” was a box of liquor filled chocolates; WHAT was I thinking.
Not sure how it is in your house. Here, I do all the shopping for the family gifts; both families, mine and his. I buy all the children’s presents and all the various gifts for the “others” in our lives like teachers, babysitters, postmen, etcetera. I buy presents for the men in my sister’s lives from “our family”, and my sisters buy the presents for the man in my life from “their family”. I doubt that one of my sister’s husbands has ever bought anything for me, or even knew what I received, and certainly my husband doesn’t shop for my sister’s gifts. We basically, as women, do the entire freaking holiday ourselves.
I guess in the old days these patterns formed because men made the money. Hello; most women are working now; like all day, like earning their own money, and still come home and do, like all the other stuff that wouldn’t get done unless we did it. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe spending 5 hours bringing up Christmas decorations, arranging 64 Santas, finding fuses for the lights that won’t work, convincing folks to take the Christmas picture for the cards “we” send out, and then realizing they we will only be done with them when I address them, I write notes on them, I write the letter to include recounting what WE’VE been up to this year (including the paragraph about me written in the third person making it seem like someone else wrote it). Perhaps I’m just a bit overwhelmed with Christmas cheer.
To top it off one of my overachieving friends had the gall to get her cards out by the first of December? Come on women; can’t we support one another a little bit. When I got that particular card I literally stood their cussing the sender (albeit in a very, merry, way); now it’s on baby. For a long time I gave up doing Christmas letters and worked on getting out New Years letters. During all those years I felt like the opening sentence of my letter, screamed to my friends “You’re getting this after Christmas because I’M A BIG, FAT, LOSER!”
Back then just getting the Christmas photo took a week of bribing with promises of M&M’s, McDonalds, and Santa visits; and that was just to get my husband in the photo. Trying to get the four little boys to sit still was like trying to hold mercury between two fingers. We’d run through an entire battery’s worth of shots in an effort to get the “one” where the boys weren’t smirking, crying, picking noses, or making devil horns behind one of their unsuspecting brothers. I pull those photos out now and am just amazed I survived that time in our lives. Maybe quietly I miss it; but if I sit down quickly and put my feet up with a cup of tea that moment passes pretty effectively.
So today we’ll make “Christmas Cookies”. Everyone will start to help and then slowly they’ll be pulled off into different directions. I’ll finish up a hundred cookies or so, that will quickly be snatched up hot from the oven, during trips through the kitchen, in the afternoon with milk, and then when it’s time for treats tonight I’ll listen as they fuss:
“MOM, all the cookies are gone! Who ate them?”
Then they’ll do cookie triage and determine who had one more cookie than the others while I rush over to the couch with a cup of tea and put my feet up. Wish my husband had won those liquor filled chocolates.
“Tis the season!”
Parenting Tip of the Day:
If you are pregnant with your first child, take your husband and go visit a friend with toddlers just before your due date. On the way home talk about everything your friends did wrong with their toddlers while you were there. Trust me, it will be the last time you’re the perfect parent.