Thursday, December 20, 2012

Anti-Holiday Husbeast

It is hard to be a holiday person when married to an anti-holiday person.  Don't get me wrong, The Husbeast LIKES holidays, he just doesn't want to do anything to make holidays special. 

If I ask him to bake holiday cookies, I get a "maybe" in the tone of voice that means "I'll never actually get to it, I'm just humouring you." 

If I mention that I would like to run presents around to some of our friends, I get a "I suppose." in that same tone of voice which means I'll either end up doing it by myself (which just isn't as fun) or it won't get done at all.

I have to nag for the tree to come down from the attic, and if I want decorations on it, well, that means I'd better plan on doing it myself.

As for lights on the outside of our house?  Yeaaaahhhh...never going to happen.

It really does make me sad because when I was growing up the holidays were a pretty festive time of year.  Mom would have Dad get out the decorations and we would all spend a weekend putting them up.  Garland would go around the banisters on the stairs, we would spray the fake snow stuff on the picture window in the living room, those fake plug-in candles would go on every window sill, and we would decorate the tree.

Decorating the tree was almost a ritual, really.  We would finish dinner, we would help Dad untangle and test the lights, and then the ornaments would come out.  Mom would sit on the couch and lovingly unwrap each one from its tissue paper, and alternate handing them to my brother and myself.  We would tell stories about each one, remembering how it had come to be in our collection.  Some we had made, some were bought to commemorate important events in our lives, and some just were always there.  The final step was always the icicles, those strips of silver tinsel that are like the decorative icing on a cake.  Mom and Dad would always make us put it on a few strands at a time, and whenever they weren't looking, my brother and I would just randomly throw handfuls at the tree to see where it landed.

I've always loved just sitting in the living room with the lights off, watching the tree lights twinkle and shine, catching the ornaments and reflecting the colors around the room.  For some reason those times have always been among the most peaceful of my life.  It is like everything stops for those precious minutes, the world calms down and just breathes, and I know that everything will be all right.

I think that's part of why it is so frustrating to be married to an Anti-Holiday Husbeast, because even the years when the tree somehow makes it up, that's all there is.  No other decorations, no sense of peace or comfort, no feeling of home.  And it makes me sad. 

Overall I'm pretty lucky.  He's a good man, and he loves me, and I love him.  I know that this isn't a major roadblock in our lives.  It is just a small difference.

I have to admit, though, I wish that it were different.  I wish that he enjoyed it all as much as I do, and that we could share that joy and that brief feeling of peace together instead of him feeling nagged and me feeling pushy and ignored.

But we don't, so all that I can do is create as much of the holiday as I can on my own and settle for that.

I think I'm going to go into the living room now.  The tree is up and has lights, but the ornaments are still in the attic.  They probably won't come out this year.  But I have a tree...and lights...and for a little while I can turn out the living room lights and just watch the tree-lights twinkle in the darkness, and hopefully feel a little peace.


  1. You have the opposite problem that is in my house. I am the anti holiday person. Honestly I am not anti holiday so much as I don't particularly care for the decorating part of it. Mostly due to the fact that I have to do it all alone.

    The husbeast LOVES the holidays. He would be tickled pink if every flat surface was covered in holiday swag and there were lights and garlands hanging from anything that could handle having crap hung from it. Unfortunately he is so damn lazy he would never so much as hang an ornament on the tree unless nagged to do so. That is why there will never be outside lights, because I can't get on a ladder to do them.

    I begrudgingly do minimal decoration every year just to please him. He says he doesn't decorate on his own because it isn't fun doing it by himself. He still doesn't help me do it now that I decorate. I say its a pain in the ass no matter who is involved, but that is just me.

    I am glad you get a sense of peace out of it and I am sorry your husbeast, like mine, is no help at all.

  2. I loved reading about your family tradition. When I was a little girl, my favorite thing to do was turn off all the lights except for the ones on the tree, when no one else was home, and turn on the Nutcracker Suite on the record player and dance around the tree to the music.
    I understand your love of the peace. I wish you could experience that again. Maybe next year....

  3. My husband's much the same way, for reasons that are valid to him. The first year I actually got him to appreciate the holiday season, we didn't use the traditional ornaments I had packed away. Instead, I picked up his pile of multicolored rolls of electrical tape, and shiny electrical fittings, and used them as ornaments instead. The only ornament was a "gone fishing" sign I'd found in ornament form, just for him.

    It helped create a boundary where new memories of the holidays were made, and that seems to help make a real difference. Ever since, the more non-traditional the holiday can be, thus creating a new memory to overlay the old, sad days, the more he enjoys it. Maybe that approach will work for yours, too - good luck!


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