Remember your first Christmas together? How magical it was to finally have someone wonderful to shop for? You spent hours searching for the perfect gift, wrapping it beautifully, and anticipating how his face would light up when he opened it and realized how much work you put into securing the best tickets for his favorite sports-team’s upcoming game.
Flash forward several years. The Christmas tree is sparkling, the holiday movies are streaming, the mulled wine is flowing….and that special someone (now your husband) is somewhere in the house—you aren’t sure where—not responding to your requests to help brine the turkey. Even though you are still in love, somehow the yuletide cheer seems to make him go from Great Guy to Grinch faster than you can say ho-ho-ho.
Long-term couples will undoubtedly find something to relate to in the following list of Fights for the Festive Season:
Where to spend Christmas
Your family or his? The fighting over where to go will start as soon as you’ve dumped the last of your Thanksgiving turkey in the trash, so prepare yourself. With any luck, one side of the family will be less-crazy than the other. But if you are like most couples, both sets of parents will be equally nutty and both will be very offended if you don’t spend the day with them or (heaven forbid) decide to treat yourselves to a Christmas holiday far from the in-laws. You might want to hit the eggnog early this year; negotiating which side of the family gets to host Christmas requires tactics rivaling those employed by the highest-level government officials when managing international trade deals.
When you were first dating, this was a happy, all-day event, where you went from store to store together, selecting gifts for the various people on your lists, sneaking in kisses here and there. Maybe a hot chocolate along the way, and he happily carried all the packages. Now that you’ve been together awhile and there are kids in the mix, you are more likely to find yourself hunched over your screen late into the night, scrolling through various websites to see what company could still send you before December 24th that hi-tech gadget he mentioned he wanted. And the hot beverage by your side is more apt to be one containing alcohol rather than cacao.
You are all about going all out. It’s Christmas! Let’s get the tallest tree we can fit in the living room! Wreaths on every door! Fresh greens wrapped around the banister! He’s more “Let’s just blow up an inflatable Santa and call it good.” Trying to get him to go down to the basement and help you haul up the 15 boxes of decorations you’ve collected over the years has you resorting to your best bargaining skills, one of which may involve the Christmas gift he gave you last year: that Santa-themed lingerie trimmed with marabou feathers. (Hey, might as well get some use out of it!)
Pinterest’s Christmas Dinner menus has got you all fired up to try something fancy this year. You ask him if he’d like Pork Loin with Cranberry Apple stuffing and he can’t stop laughing at the word “loin.” You fantasize about pelting him with the apples AND the cranberries.
Your husband has offered to take over the kitchen for Christmas dinner, giving you “time to relax with the guests.” (You suspect he is just trying to avoid talking with your parents.) You also know that “husband in the kitchen” translates to many questions about cooking time and temperatures, a mess of pots and pans all over the counters as he pulls them out looking for that roasting pan you only use once a year, the ear-splitting pitch of the knife sharpener as he prepares for culinary battle, and the masses of spills and splatters he will leave unattended to as he “helps you out.” It really is far easier to just do this all yourself, isn’t it? (He can learn how to deal with your parents and leave the kitchen to you and your mad skills.)
“Honey, you stay seated. I’ll do the washing up.” “Yes!” you answer. Is this a holiday dream? You linger at the table, enjoying your after-dinner brandy with the other adults while the children are settling down in post-Christmas bliss. Until you see your kitchen, hours later. He doesn’t understand why you are upset that he ran your great-grandmother’s hand wash-only wedding china through the dishwasher. And it’s going to take you days to figure out where he put the fish knives, the butter dish, and the cake stand. Because when you ask him, he not only doesn’t remember what he did with these items, but what their actual purpose is.
What to watch after Christmas Dinner
The table is cleared and the kitchen is tidied up. The children are asleep and you’ve waited all day for this moment where you can curl up next to your husband, a nice glass of soothing cognac in one hand and the remote in the other. You can think of nothing more enjoyable than viewing your favorite classic Christmas movie. Your husband, however, wants to stream the entire fifth season of The Walking Dead. This is one of those things that really isn’t worth fighting about. If history repeats itself, both of you will be asleep by the end of the opening credits, whatever you are watching.