My H tries to ruin the holidays for me~

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    The other day H and I were running errands and the topic of the holidays came up. Sine my mom is moving up to CT (this weekend!!!!!), I will be hosting Christmas at my house. Not everyone is joining us, but there will be a significant amount of people there and while I am not so keen on all the work that will go into the festivities, I am thrilled that we will have a nice Christmas with my mom (it's only happened a couple of times in 25 years!). H's mom had mentioned wanting to spend Christmas with us when we saw them back in August so I asked H to find out if they were joining us as well - he of course doesn't want them to - and he's all quiet and then makes the following announcement:

    "I hate Christmas. I hate the holidays in general. I hate the weeks leading up to it and the weeks following. I hate having to spend money and buy presents and I hate all the work and aggravation that goes with it. And I hate that immediately following Christmas, I have a ton of bills due."

    Ummm, does he mean the same monthly bills that arrive every month? And what work and aggravation is he talking about? I do all the preparations, etc. I might ask him to run to the store for last minute supplies/food, but he doesn't do any prep work. And every year I tell him to put a cap on his spending and start earlier, but he always waits until December 23rd to do his shopping, he always goes to the malls (!!!) and he always thinks he has to be Santa and buys expensive items. No No No. I ask our girls for a list and I choose a few reasonable things from the list. I buy GC's for nearby relatives and bake bake bake breads and cookies for friends and a couple of close neighbors. By the time he's ready to start thinking of shopping, I am well past that point so really, it's all done - in fact, it's not even necessary for him to buy anything for anyone by that point.

    And it's not about the gifts. I'd rather have nice decor, great food and treats and friends and family around for Christmastime. On the actual day, we usually go to the movies for the afternoon and then graze on leftovers, so I don't even understand what he's talking about in regards to it being so stressful.

    But the point is, he's ruining it for me. Each year, he gets worse and more vocal about how much he hates Christmas. I happen to be a Christmas baby - I was born two days after Christmas, so pardon me for enjoying the holidays a bit. I also ALWAYS schedule that time off from work and I look forward to it. It's NOT about the presents, it IS about the time off, the down time, the foods, etc. I enjoy taking those measly 10 days and just being carefree. This year my oldest sister will be in town for those days and I am really looking forward to that time with her as well as the time spent with my mom. And here is H, Eeyore himself, trying to ruin it for me. I am determined not to allow him to do so, but it's hard because I'm already feeling fragile these days.

    What can I do to prevent my Scroogey Eeyore from ruining this time of year for me??
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I think we're sharing the same scrooge.:mad: husband did that every year for years...........and he still tries it.......but I tell him if he's going to complain to keep it to himself, plaster a smile on his face, and pretend he's having a fabulous time. I don't want to hear his scrooge garbage, see his scrooge face, and neither does anyone else. Christmas is the ONE holiday that I actually enjoy. I don't allow husband to ruin it for me. So he lost his say so in the holiday season years ago.

    Mine has even less to complain about. lol He doesn't even bother to buy people presents......and I'll ask the kids to help me before I'd think to ask him. The only thing I've asked him to do each year is get out the decorations.........and that is because the boxes are too heavy for me. ugh
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Do you think, perhaps, that he behaves/feels the way he does because he feels a little useless? May be you should take over the gift buying (except your gift, of course) and he can help with something else? Decorating? Maybe you know an organization that needs a "Santa" to deliver gifts to needy families? It sounds like he's really disconnected from the joy of the holidays.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Sounds to me like your husband has lost sight of the whole POINT of Christmas.

    It's not what's in it for me.
    It's not who can buy the most expensive gift.
    It is a celebration. Does he hate Thanksgiving or people's birthdays?
    If you're doing everything - maybe he DOES feel useless.

    ...Does he have a particular holiday he likes and you don't?

    husband and I worked this out long ago. I adore Christmas (as does Jett). husband loves Halloween (as does Onyxx). So... He goes nuts for Pumpkin Day, I go bonkers for Santa Day. He doesn't ever shop for the kids - I do. I've dragged him with me, of course, and he gets input.

    ...And when I make cookies, rum balls, fruitcake, etc. ...He helps me by tasting.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    The only part of it he seems to enjoy is hanging the roping and lights and eating the cookies. Other than that, when I ask him to help with anything or ask him if he'd like to join in any way, he balks!

    I will add that based on his family's behavior around holidays and birthdays, I do not think they were raised with much fanfare and festivity! I mean, no one even called him for his birthday last week not even his parents. And when his parents were here for Christmas one year, we had to pull his mom from her room to join us. The girls were little and just about jumping out of their skin waiting for her to get out so they could open their gifts! LOL. And afterwards, she sent me a 10 page mimeographed newsletter about eating healthy. She said we were too indulgent with foodstuffs when in fact, I went way out of my way to make sure everything I prepared was diabetic friendly just for her. WTH? I just don't think they are into that warm and fuzzy Christmas thing, which is fine - it's not for everyone. But I am and H used to be, but somewhere along the way he's become disenchanted by it all. He even asked if "now that the girls are adults if we still had to do all that koi?" OMG.
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    We both enjoy Halloween and we have a bit of a celebration over that with a bonfire, decorations, lots of H's favorite candies, etc. He loves being the family 'taster' when it comes to holiday treats, etc. He enjoys Thanksgiving, but only the food aspect. He enjoyed the Thanksgiving parade. I think he is feeling a bit disconnected from his family around the holidays - that may be a part of it. I think he thinks we're too commercial, though we are not at all. He hates that I ask the girls for lists but I do that so I don't waste money and have things to choose from so there are still surprises - not so I can go hogwild and buy them everything, which I don't.

    When he and his sibs entered into late adolescence and early adulthood, his family started going away on ski trips for Christmas. The last picture of a family Christmas he has on record is from when he was about 16 years old, shortly after his younger brother died. It may all be connected - I don't know and he won't talk about it. But his overall negativity is hurtful, even though I try to be understanding and respectful of his feelings - I can't let him svck the fun out of this time of year for me, Know what I mean??
  7. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Do your thing and let him hang the lights and be a cookie taster. I have a handy button that I hit to put SO on "Ignore" when he starts being a grump. I just tune him out and go on and do what I planned without any imput from him. He can either get with the program or go be miserable out of my line of sight but am determined not to let him and his ball of negativity ruin my day or plans. Ignoring him usually does the trick on making him come round and join in because he does NOT like to be ignored.

    And I only plan for as much as I can handle, by myself, just in case.

  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My husband did not have Merry holidays as a child and he still doesn't get with the program. If I'd made a list of possible red flags
    before never would occur to me to include Christmas attitude. ;) In seventy years of living I have only met a few men who really got in the spirit. Certainly they all didn't have troubled childhoods! Stay your course and enjoy! DDD
  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Jo, it sounds like your H does have a bunch of unprocessed koi relating to his brother's death and his family overall. That said, instead of taking it out on you and trying to spoil your enjoyment, he should either let you know how he's feeling and why, go to a therapist or something to sort it out, or at least button his lip and pretend to be having fun.

    My ex-H used to love picking fights with me when he had some sort of emotional crisis going on. He'd make himself unpleasant to goad me into fighting with him, then he'd blow his top at me, vent whatever emotional mess he was in and feel much better. Of course, I felt terrible afterward, but HE felt better. I eventually learned not to let a fight be picked. I just refused to take on anything to do with his bad mood or unpleasantness. Didn't teach ex-H to behave any better, but at least it no longer spoiled my fun.

    Sending hugs, and an extra suit of rhino skin, to help you get through your holiday planning with enjoyment and serenity.
  10. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I would let him participate as much as he wants and is willing to do and let it go. You can still get into the spirit with other people. Maybe he won't be grumpy if he doesn't feel like he is being pressured to do things. Not saying you are overly pressuring him, but it may all be overwhelming to him.

    I used to live in a city where everyone was all about their football team and they would just go on and on about it everywhere. I was always happy when football season was over. I am pretty indifferent to football, but hearing all that talk about it made me start to dislike it. If I had been expected to go to football games and parties, I would have been grumpy. Maybe it is the same thing for your husband. He just isn't that into it and everyone else is.
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    WHy don't you just say, " husband you are really a downer about this holiday season and it is really starting to affect my joy. Could you please figure out a way to make it better for yourself? or at least try not to bring your loves ones down with you?"

    Just say it!
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Wendy - I have said many variations of that, but I am going to say it verbatum this time! Thanks, I will let you know how it's received. LOL~
  13. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Me (being me) would if financially feasible, dress him as either Scrooge or the Grinch, and declare him to be part of the decor.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am probably more like your I start getting icky this time of year for some reason. I want to hide out on Thanksgiving and Xmas morning because...well I dont really know why. If I did I could probably fix it. Probably something to do with my childhood because I really cant remember many of my Xmas's other than one photo I saw. Well...I do remember a few as a teen but only going out with my friends later in the day. I dont remember anything I actually got other than one red sweater. Isnt that odd?

    I know I got things...Im sure of it.

    I go overboard with the kids..or did when they were little and now I do with the grands. I just dont much like all the getting ready for it and cooking and baking. I am a horrible baker. Tony does all the cooking. Just the thought of getting ready for Xmas puts me in a I looked at the calendar and saw that Thanksgiving was next week and almost died.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Christmas traditions and holidays are a big stressor for a LOT of marriages. My own father used to HATE holidays and birthdays. He once told me that he would rather celebrate family every day, and be thankful for things every day rather than just one special day a year. Doing it on one prescribed day set by someone else felt fake to him. My mother told him when they were very first married to svck it up because it was part of life that their children were going to have and understand. Including HIS birthday, because that is how kids learn to give and not just receive. Of course once I had Wiz my father's view of Christmas changed 1000%, lol.

    When we lived in OH when my kids were little we ran into a LOT of stress/conflict a couple of years. As a kid we saw my dad's family on Christmas because they lived close and my other grands didn't. No biggie. The tradition in my father's family, set by my grandfather, was that Christmas was a holiday for Gma as well as everyone else. So there was no big hot dinner. The ham was cooked the night before, by Gpa, while everyone else went to midnight Mass. Christmas day was cold ham and all the fixin's for sandwiches, and lots of cookies and treats. Well, my aunt married a man with a big hot christmas dinner tradition, complete with a really disgusting (to all of us) sauerkraut soup. I haave had other versions of the soup that were not nearly as terrible, but this one is absolutely disgusting. Everyone had to sit down at the same time, it was a big production with HUGE fanfare, mostly about praising this man she married for cooking (even though all he did was take a ham out of the oven, my aunt did the rest). It created real stress a couple of years.

    Then husband and I decided that we would do our own thing because we, and our kids, are a family. We are allowed to have OUR traditions. It was almost heresy in the family for a year or two, though I have NO idea why when other than this dinner we were flat out told not to bring Wiz to their home until his voice changed. Then came the year thank you was born, when the man my aunt married insisted my kids be picked up by 4 am so they didn't bother him on a Sunday. I was IN LABOR at the hospital and my mother was FURIOUS when she picked up the kids to take them to my uncle's. We hadn't known about the pick up time until the kids were already there and my mom was already at the hospital. It was the LAST time I was EVER pressured to do something with them. Even when they visit my parents I make excuses because I have NO use for him or my father's sister. Their daughter is a delight, but her older bro is a pill and always has been.

    Anyway, the difference in tradition was a real challenge to cope with, and insisting on adhering to just one tradition really alienated a whole lot of people.

    Have you ever written out what YOU do and what H does for the holidays? Then show it to him? How none of the prep, fuss, etc... is actually done by him, then ask him why it bugs him that you do it all and pay for it all? Maybe if you SHOW him that he really does very little, and what he does is nice but not required so he doesn't have to do it if he doesn't want to, maybe it will make it different.

    on the other hand, it might be more effective to simply tell him that he doesn't have to enjoy it, or participate in ANY way, but he has NO RIGHT to ruin YOUR enjoyment, so would he please keep his nasty words and attitude to himself?
  16. tawnya

    tawnya New Member

    Jo, you should live here. OR, be glad you don't!

    MY "husband" acts exactly the same way. No problems with childhood, etc.

    If he wants to feel horrible, I wish he would do it by himself, and let me have a little joy for a week.

    ((HUGS)). I'm with you in spirit, anyway.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Dear All Heart,

    I am not sure what part of Christmas it is that ruins life as it were for so many people. I don't know if it's the stress of Christmases past where people start to reminisce about how they fell short each year with their kids, their loved ones and felt 'I will do better next year' and then didn't. Then those emotions pile up over the years as self-perceived failures, when in reality life just happens but it seems to get magnified around the holidays. It could be what I call grade-school-play syndrome. Some of us would just rather sit in the audience, and not be 'on stage' with all it's lights, costumes, fan-fare, rehearsing and then the BIG production - curtain opens and TA DA - (christmas morning). For some I think it's just the annoyance that the rest of the world has created over it all. In some ways this would me my steer towards holiday depression. I really dislike all that "WE MUST GO OVERBOARD" with some people. I don't have the means to go overboard, and if I had the means? I would and have (even with what great little I have been blessed with) shared it with others.

    Seems to me this time of year isn't just THIS TIME OF YEAR, but it's all year - but SO MUCH emphasis by the rest of the world that forgets how we're supposed to treat each other all the time is brought to a pinacle because of guilt. Drop a dollar in a bucket for the Salvation Army, put a new, unwrapped toy in a box as you leave the Kmart, pull a name off the Angel Tree at the mall and buy some underprivledged kid some clothes and one big item to wow him or her. I mean all of that is great, but where is that spirit ALL YEAR LONG? Why can't we be like that all year long? Why AREN'T we like that all year long? Are we? Why not? If we were, then maybe Christmas and the season to celebrate the SPIRIT OF GIVING wouldn't seem so out of proportion. Maybe it would be more like Oh look at veterans day - I appreciate my military men every day - I don't do much for them, but boy I sure appreciate them and when veterans day rolls around, you put out a flag, you take a day off and do you see many people get severely depressed on veterans day or suffer from SAD on that day? But let us appreciate the spirit of giving, hang a Christmas tree and a stocking - and all of a sudden we're REMINDED that this is a holiday to remember the spirit of GIVING - and all of a sudden - some of us think - WOW - Either I am the little drummer boy and I have nothing to give so I won't give anything (bah rump a bum bum) or I'll just be Scrooge and wish that everyone disappear and NOT celebrate this day because I'm not giving all year long why should this day be any different? BAH HUM BUG and you dispense with your merry-making - I'll be here hiding in my own misery until this dreadful day passes.

    DF is an eeyore. I am a butterfly. But...around the holidays? If I asked him to "Make Merry" I think he'd probably make a a drink or 20 and THEN be merry. With him? In the past he has sat and thought about Christmases past. How he didn't quite "live up" to his ideas of what he thought should have been. It took me years to figure this out. He openly admitted that he has ruined EVERY Christmas that we have been together - 11 years. I can't get him to shop, decorate, and I LOVE Christmas. The year Dude went to jail, and Witz kicked the manger across her living room? It was the ONLY thing that saved me from sinking into the worst depression of my entire life. No tree, no gifts, no family, no music, no food - nothing. Just in my bed, dark room, covers over my head - sleeping for days. Then the donkey (*****) took a flight and that was it.....I was almost on the floor. After that? I made a decision that with or without eeyore IIIIIIIII would go on about my business and make merry. If he wanted to sit in a dark den, shades drawn, watch westerns and let life pass him by? So be it - but I told him - THIS IS NOT JUST HIS life he is wasting. This is OUR life - and MY TIME on this earth is short - too short to continue to spend it NOT celebrating holidays the way I want to. And.........too short to continue to live with a man that didn't share the same values and beliefs I did.

    THAT? THAT made him think. Last year I came home from a very hard day at work. Men got Xmas bonuses, I did not. Men got vacations paid - I got nothing. I pulled in the drive and on our magnolia tree (no pine trees in SC) was a cruddy little strand of Christmas lights. To me? It looked like Rockafeller Square. That one strand of lights meant more to me than you'll ever know. I walked in the door - and there on the table was a minature Christmas tree, lit with a small gift box, wrapped under it. I'm not prone to crying, but by the time I got in the door I had tear stains down both cheeks and a nose as red as Rudolph's. He simply said "I'm sorry I've ruined every Christmas for you."

    My point here is for 11 years? I didn't try to drag him into it - I've done things alone. I didn't beg him to hang the lights, or trim the tree - I asked; he declined - I probably sighed and went off feeling very alone. When I had my fill? I let him know, and 11 years was my fill. My cup as they say ranneth over. I didn't do it yelling, belittleing - I just stated a fact....and yes, I did take into account HIS depression in this matter, but what he did NOT take into account for 11 years was MY depression for each and every holiday, each and every event, each and every BBQ that I have spent alone - and when I have gone places alone? Came home ALONE. But when I made my statement about how short my life was to continue it with a man who didn't share my values and beliefs? It left him with something to think about - ON HIS OWN without malice and without threats. I respected his illness - now he needed to respect my needs.

    I considered selling our tree - but I have boxes and boxes of ornaments and they give ME great joy ------so no. I have outside decorations that I love to put up.....but haven't for years, and will now if it suits me. Our giving spirit is all year long and like I've said despite having little we have managed to share it all year long - and more if we can which makes Christmas less of a stress - it's just like another day to appreciate the spirit of giving and hope we can continue to do so throughout the coming year.

    If hubby is worried about huge bills - make a compromise - Have a NEW kind of Christmas. Make choices now - Maybe everyone ONLY gets 2 gifts - and the third one HAS to be a donation to -----and your family picks the charity or charities - and you all do something for that charity together - volunteer or whatever instead of money.

    Set a spending limit.....for everyone.

    Explain that you HAVE 100 strands of lights but you would be DELIGHTED beyond words with 14 of them - then lavish praise.

    Make a chore list - and make HIS the shortest - ACCOMPLISHABLE - and CROSS LINES THROUGH IT - when he is done - and let it be seen -

    TALK BIG.......then come to earth by planning small - WELL I WANTED To invite 50 people, but I think you are right honey - 12 is a more manageable party....and cheaper. ;) and of course you only wanted 8 to begin with.

    I'm not sure if this maybe your year to do the values, beliefs're kinda pulled with school and all - but make a list tonight of everything you would LOVE to do at Christmas and then pick your top 5

    and ask husband if he could at least do the top #1 thing with you. Then tell him if he will? The rest of the holiday he can lock himself in the basement until Jan. 4th.

    THEN hit him with the beliefs values thing. CALMLY but assertively.

    Oh and quit dragging his family into this - he's a 50 yr. old man who is capable of making his own decisions.......and has had a lifetime to mold his own life. They may have influenced him, but they aren't still doing that - HE IS. mk?

    Love and Hugs.....
  18. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    My husband lost a dear family member at Christmas time when he was little....and during the holidays I always see him go through a bout of the "blues".

    And you know what? Your husband is right. It STINKS to lose someone you love...especially when you are young and very close. And there is no speech in the world that will ever repair that tear, that little hole, where the family member used to be.

    And like your husband, my husband's grumpiness used to ruin it for everybody.

    But we have now worked out a solution.

    Each year, we all give husband a little time to BE grumpy. Be a scrooge! Be angry! Be sad! Cry a little! Yell a little about how unfair it all is! Yell about how Christmas stinks and why do we need this lousy holiday anyway.

    Then, after getting all of that nastiness out of the way....we go on to enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

    And - it has worked!

    husband used to not participate in anything. But these last few years, he has shopped, decorated, planned...and actually had some fun.

    I'm not a therapist by any means....but maybe some time to allow your H his feelings would help him, too?
  19. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Daisy, I'm so sorry for your H's loss and I'm glad you've found a solution to help him get through the holidays.

    My H did not lose his brother at Christmastime. It was in the summer and H also doesn't blame his blues-y-ness on that loss. His chief complaint about Christmas is that he feels everyone goes overboard (not us, but everyone else) and that he hates spending money. He hates shopping and he hates spending money on other people. He also hates getting presents (can't even wrap my head around that one!). In fact, he will tell me what present he wants, I will get it and then he puts it away and doesn't use it. He wanted this expensive digital notepad last year. I bought it on Black friday on line and all the accessories and he has yet to use it. He's like that with birthday presents also. He almost always returns anything we get him. I bought him a really great expensive mountain bike one year for father's day. He gave it away a couple of years later and then went and bought himself a $1700 street bicycle!!! OMG. The ONLY gift we ever gave him that he still has and loves is the giant charcoal grill on our patio with matching rotisserie. He loves the food aspect of the holidays and that's it. He doesn't even like the large family gatherings, though he goes along with it for me and seems to enjoy himself, but later will talk about this one or that one, etc.

    I usually don't even pay him any mind about any of it but the leading up the holiday complaining is beginning earlier and earlier each year from H and it's almost as if he's trying to ruin it for me or dissuade me from gearing up for them altogether. It's not fair and furthermore, if his problem with the holidays does stem from some deep-seated childhood horror, he wouldn't talk about it anyway...that's just him (and his entire family). They just don't talk about it and then they believe it's just not important. H's family has made an art out of burying their feelings for centuries!

    Star, he's not complaining about Christmas expenses - he's complaining because of regular ordinary expenses he has to face every month, as in the mortgage will still be due on the 1st of January. I don't know why this bothers's also due every other month of the year as well, so why does it drive him batty that it is also due on January 1st, following Christmas?

    He enjoys picking out and cutting down the tree. He enjoys watching me decorate the tree and the rest of the house, etc., and eating the cookies. But everything else he can do without. I'm not trying to change him but I just wish he would be less vocal about his disenchantment about Christmas. When the girls were little, he at least made an effort to be cheery and into it, but now it's like he's thrown in the towel! He behaves like such an old fogey about everything except cycling - the one thing he loves outside of work, lol.

    Also, we do give year round!!! We are always donating clothing, money or supplies when we can all year, not only at Christmastime. However, there is a local women's shelter that I make a special donation to at this time of year in lieu or gift giving to extended family members. We also donate to food pantries. H likes when we do that, but he won't be a part of it - he likes hearing about me and the girls doing it.

    I'm just going to do my thing and try to ignore him as best as possible! Thanks for the input everyone - it's been helpful!
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jo, there is just something very odd about that whole thing. I really cant understand it really.

    I always wondered what life would be like for Tony and I when the boys grew up and left the if that was ever going to But I did imagine it was going to happen back when they were younger. I guess I was clueless back then.

    I used to imagine they would all leave and Tony and I would be alone at home and we would see the kids occasionally. Like maybe for holidays or something. Wasnt I a fool!

    I used to think that life would be more like my Dads life. I would see my kids once or twice a year and watch my grandchildren grow up from a distance. Now? I cannot even imagine that life.