Husband doesnt know how to celebrate Christmas!!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 10-31-2008, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband is from Taiwan, and doesnt traditionaly celebrate Christmas. He likes tradition and family celebration, but is SOOOO practical that he is having trouble understanding stockings, gifts, christmas themed treats, christmas trees, etc. We agreed we would only purchase the gifts that we need (food processor, blender type stuff) and last night I asked about stockings (we didnt do them last year :-() and he agreed . . . but usually DH agrees and changes his mind later!

Anyone else experience lack of interest in christmas, or other important traditions? Any tips on interesting him?
Atleast he DOES value family oriented activities, and our first baby is due RIGHT before christmas. HELP! (if you havent noticed, I LOVE LOVE LOVE christmas)
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#2 of 23 Old 10-31-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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I'd appreciate the fact that he doesn't buy into the commercial hype, and try to create your own family traditions that don't involve buying a pile of "Christmas themed" unnecessary stuff.
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#3 of 23 Old 11-01-2008, 03:52 AM
 
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My dh was raised, and still is, Hindu. He does not see the big deal about American holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day and Halloween. He has his own fond memories of other holidays in India as a child and has no emotional connection to American holidays. He did not really want our kids to celebrate those holidays (seeing them as non-Hindu) until the kids got older. I think he started to apprecate the underlying themes of them, like giving thanks, remembering our blessings, being with family, and even just having fun. We have been married for almost 13 years and I would say it's taken about 10 for him to really observe and experience and get a little bit more into it.

It's just part of being a mixed culture family. Maybe you can ask him to help plan and celebrate some Japanese holidays, or you can get together with a group of Japanese-Americans to talk about it more with them.

I couldn't believe it last year when he actually went along with the Santa thing. I never thought I'd see the day. If stockings are important to you, go ahead and do them even if he is not that enthusiastic about it. Make sure to have one for him. And also make sure to give him something really personal or special. It doesn't have to be expensive, but just something that helps him realize the meaning of the holiday. I'm knitting my dh a pair of socks this years. He doesn't need the socks (he can just buy them) but I want to give him something that he knows I worked on for a long time out of love. It probably cost about $12 in yarn but in his eyes they will be priceless. He appreciates the work I do when I knit socks-- but he never probably expected a pair made for him!

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#4 of 23 Old 11-01-2008, 07:34 AM
 
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I'd appreciate the fact that he doesn't buy into the commercial hype, and try to create your own family traditions that don't involve buying a pile of "Christmas themed" unnecessary stuff.
I agree with this. And also add, give your husband some time. A few years to settle into it.
My husband is CHristian but grew up in rural Ethiopia. Their Christmas consisted of church and more church, and pooling money to purchase a cow to slaughter and distribute meat to the poor in the community. That was it. He finds American Christmas overwhelming and disturbing.

We have reached a compromise. My parents agreed to be low-key with the gifts. I do decorate a little but very simply (think Ikea, red and white ). We eat lots of good food and enjoy the family time. We give small gifts (homemade, free, or very cheap). I grew up with whole-hog German Christmases so toning it down has been a process for me. Otoh, dh has loosened up a bit. WHen his workplace was getting rid of their fake Christmas tree, he brought it home to us, and it's actually quite beautiful. So we have a Christmas tree because of him.
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#5 of 23 Old 11-01-2008, 09:16 PM
 
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Well I didn't know a thing about Christmas, either. I only knew people decorate a Christmas tree, and eat some feast with family. I was pretty surprised after coming here and seeing the extent of the effects of Christmas. My first "real" Christmas was with DH 10 years ago, and I'm still asking him various questions about what we're supposed to do. I only take the good and easy part from any holidays that's not my tradition: time off, eat yummy stuff, play games, some presents...etc. I don't do any more difficult stuff, like inviting all sorts of people to my home for Christmas party. Too much work, and I don't really care about the celebration anyway.

I agree it might take your DH a few years to get into it, and don't expect him to want to adopt every tradition, especially if it's too much work or doesn't make sense to him.

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#6 of 23 Old 11-02-2008, 03:42 AM
 
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We actually have toned down Christmas gradually over the past few years. My parents have always gone way overboard and really my kids don't need every single new toy on the market. So our house is pretty low key. Santa brings a big gift for the kids to play with (last year it was an art easel with art supplies) and a small gift per child. The stockings usually have all kinds of neat things that we would normally buy anyways... and some candy (b/c we both grew up with stockings crammed full of sweets so it's tradition for us!)

Some examples for stockings (for our kids):
socks
new toothbrush
hair bows for the girls
new pacis for DS

Stockings for us:
candy
bodywash
new gloves

I'd go ahead and fill stockings for all of you... that's what I've always done.

Beth
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#7 of 23 Old 11-02-2008, 11:19 AM
 
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What is wrong with practicle gifts?

I would modify tradition to fit all your family and appriciate you won't have "crap" to throw away.
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#8 of 23 Old 11-02-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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but usually DH agrees and changes his mind later!
Well in that case, sorry about his bad luck but once you agree to something, you're pretty much held to your word. At least in my house. I'd be pretty ticked if dh told me he agreed with something and then it came down to it he didn't agree after all or just changed his mind.

If it were me, I'd tell him that celebrating christmas and all it's traditions is important and meaningful to you. He doesn't have to participate, but he shouldn't stop you from participating. In exchange I would ask him to pick a holiday that was important to him and celebrate it as a family.
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#9 of 23 Old 11-02-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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My dh grew up with christmas, and his mom is WAY over the top...doesn't matter he HATES it!...he's not ever doen a stocking for me so last year his parents(as in mil) started doingours and we(as in me) started doing theres...It's not as "romantic" as if my dh did it, but I know its a big burden taken frm him, since malls, consumerism ect. REALLY stress him out.

Related to you dh, my brother in law moved to s. korea to teach, met my sister in law and they came lastyear in the fall...being that my bil hadnt had xmas w the fam in 4 years, we put the tree up early, decorated the outside, did the dinner, presents,stockings ect ect...my poor sil was so uncomfortable with the whole thing..just kept saying "so strange...so strange"...the funniest was "where tree go after?"...mils reply.."oh well we take it down, box it up and put it in theattic until next year"...my sil with look of shock..."attic, what is this attic?"...so we take her up show her and after a huge bit in korean that we'd NEVER understand..my bil replies that she would think thats someones apt....LOL! then she went on to say "sooo strange!"...the one thing she REALLY enjoyed was stockings, and shes decided to make that a tradition since they are tiny and wont take up much room in they're small apt. To make her feel more comfortable my dh and I wentto the Korean grocery store and bought hersome foodwe knew she'd eat(shes vegetarian like us and my mil CANNOT prepare vegetarian)...the food idea was a big stresser for both mil and sil

My advice is to make sure if you are trying to havehim celebrate your holidays, you better make sure your trying to celebrate his...he's a guy and will prob act like itdoesntmatter but im sure it does!, celebrating xmas prob makes him miss his fam/cultures traditions.

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#10 of 23 Old 11-03-2008, 12:04 AM
 
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I have had similar issues with my DH. He warmed up to the present thing once he got used to it, but cleaning up the pine needles has been a big issue. The year I was pregnant he was so happy I was on bedrest and couldn't decorate the house .

The next year though, we had a 10 mo DS. Having a child changed things. Seeig pictures of DS sitting on Santa's lap, DS opening presents, pointing at all the decorrated trees. It just helped him let go of all his adult worries about the impracticaltiy of it all.

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#11 of 23 Old 11-03-2008, 08:55 AM
 
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i agree with making it practical. i wouldn't be shocked if he didn't want to or understand why it is such a big deal. after all, it has become so commercialized for americans that a number of americans have shied away from participating. make it something that means something for your family aside from the unyielding commercialism. i think that's why i like the holiday even though i am not christian.

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#12 of 23 Old 11-03-2008, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DoingDoing:Julie View Post
My husband is from Taiwan, and doesnt traditionaly celebrate Christmas. He likes tradition and family celebration, but is SOOOO practical that he is having trouble understanding stockings, gifts, christmas themed treats, christmas trees, etc. We agreed we would only purchase the gifts that we need (food processor, blender type stuff) and last night I asked about stockings (we didnt do them last year :-() and he agreed . . . but usually DH agrees and changes his mind later!

Anyone else experience lack of interest in christmas, or other important traditions? Any tips on interesting him?
Atleast he DOES value family oriented activities, and our first baby is due RIGHT before christmas. HELP! (if you havent noticed, I LOVE LOVE LOVE christmas)
IME, even in families where both spouses are Christians (or even just "Christmas celebrating" Americans), the husband doesn't "do" anything for Christmas, except to maybe hang the outdoor lights and buy the wife a gift. I think the "Clark Griswolds" are actually pretty rare.

I have noticed among most of my friends that it is the wife/mom who buys the kids presents, decorates the tree, hangs the stockings, cooks all the food, etc. All the stuff that makes the holiday season "cheerful".

What traditions does he have from Taiwan that he wants to share with your children? Can you blend the two, or celebrate both cultures traditions? I really wouldn't try to change him - if you changed him, he wouldn't be the man you fell in love with and married, now would he?

I see no problem with buying only "practical" or "small" or very meaningful gifts. That's the type of stuff that used to be exchanged until commercialism took over. I'm real big on the idea that Christmas is really for children (we don't celebrate it as a religious holiday) and the gift grab mentality stresses me out. Of course, I also do stockings and easter baskets for my husband.
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#13 of 23 Old 11-03-2008, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by USAmma View Post
I'm knitting my dh a pair of socks this years. He doesn't need the socks (he can just buy them) but I want to give him something that he knows I worked on for a long time out of love. It probably cost about $12 in yarn but in his eyes they will be priceless. He appreciates the work I do when I knit socks-- but he never probably expected a pair made for him!
From one knitter to another - you should know better - you cannot buy hand knit socks for $12 anywhere.
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#14 of 23 Old 11-04-2008, 12:42 AM
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My DH is from Taiwan, too. He has no interest in any type of holiday or birthday celebration. I'm in charge of all holiday-related stuff and anything having to do with religion. My DH also agrees to things, then changes his mind. I add traditions and decorations slowly over the years so that he can get used to them. We have fun purchasing or making meaningful gifts on a tight budget -- one year our spending limit was $10.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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#15 of 23 Old 11-04-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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Holidays are always a bit of a challenge for me too. I don't have any real advice, just wanted to offer sympathy. When we're with my DH's family, they sort of do the traditional American thing, but I almost cried when my DH stir fried all the leftover Thanksgiving turkey a couple of years ago. For some reason, it's a lot harder to let go of my ideas about holidays than it is about other things.
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#16 of 23 Old 11-05-2008, 08:59 AM
 
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My dh is very uncelebrating of any event, be it Eid, Christmas, birthdays etc, he grew up where the only toy he had was a football, he just doesn't get it, but has started to make a bit of an effort, however, we don't do stockings for adults, for the kids we do toothbrushes, socks, underwear, and a chocolate santa, and one big pressie each, this year I've made bean bags and we just need to get the filling now, we take the kids to see the lights in Paris as they are spectacular and we make a nice meal and maybe a bottle of wine to share, but really the whole commercial side of christmas we both hate and try to steer clear of.

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#17 of 23 Old 11-06-2008, 06:55 AM
 
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aaaaah i see ur issue here. but i dont think its so much about being taiwanese as more about not interested in that aspect of 'traditional' celebration. my dad is like ur dh. one christmas he got me school supplies : he really had no idea what to do.

i remember my mom and extended family did all the traditional stuff. not my dad.

now i am a single mom. and i focus on special memories for my dd. not based on 'traditional' stuff. for instance baking is so not my cup of tea. neither are christmas ornaments.

when i was married to my ex neither did he care to do much. and he is from here mind u. i guess just some men are like that.

looking back on my life i found a lot of my traditions came from 'conspicuous consumption'. so i still want to make the holidays more magical for my dd without the focus on presents. looking back on my life - it was everything we did before christmas that was more fun than the day itself.

and that's what i focus on too with my dd. we volunteer, go for all the activities happening around town. do the lights. plays. musical events. winter cleaning and sprucing up the house. just that building up to that day.

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#18 of 23 Old 11-06-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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If you're due right before Christmas, maybe this would be a great year to scale back a bit!! You are probably not going to want a whole-hog crazy Christmas with an itty bitty newborn. I'd pick one or two things that are important to you (stockings? lights?) and talk to DH about those. Then add in a few things at a time as your DH gets used to them. You'll probably find that you don't miss some things, too. Over the years you'll settle in to a Christmas that works for your whole family.

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#19 of 23 Old 11-08-2008, 08:15 PM
 
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well, you don't have to be from very different parts of the world to NOT agree on how much/little to do for Christmas ..... was raised with some traditions (in France) but found out after marrying that the way they went about it in my husband's family (in the UK) ... just put me off more than i expected as years went by ... he's the one in our family who wants to make a big fuss and spend more money on it than I think necessary/am comfortable with ....
good luck for finding the right balance that will suit you both !!!!
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#20 of 23 Old 11-15-2008, 08:24 PM
 
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Ugh! I have a total Scrooge for a DH! He's from Zimbabwe and says his family didn't celebrate ANYTHING ever. They do in the country from what I understand, however, it's just not as big a deal there.

However, he says holidays are silly and doesn't get how great they can be for families. He's said that he'll go along with anything I plan, but I'm trying to think of something that's taylored to a 2 year old (my DSS) and fun for all of us. I HATE the commercialized Christmas holiday, but I feel really strongly in favor or unique family holiday traditions. This is my first year with a family of my own, so I'm trying to put something together that Mr. Scrooge will have fun with and see the error of his ways!!!
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#21 of 23 Old 11-19-2008, 04:52 AM
 
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My DH is from Hong Kong and at first he too thought the celebrations were a lot of trouble for no good reason. But, I just took ownership of what I wanted to do (tree, presents, hosting an X-mas dinner) and after a while he kind of got into it too.

Also, as one of the above posters mentioned - it's usually the mother who has to do things in a typical Western X-mas.

So, I've been stuffing my own stocking for years That's fine, gives me an excuse to get some nice stuff for myself. My DH does like to gift me a bit and we both now have fun gifting the kids.

I also like to do more a Chinese New Year than he does - the Big Sweep Out & decorating the house.
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#22 of 23 Old 11-26-2008, 07:16 PM
 
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My husband is from Malaysia, and although he's been in the US for most of his life, his family has never been interested in any holidays except Chinese New Year... and even that is just a big meal to him. I come from a big family, and we're really into the holidays, with a ton of our own traditions. Luckily for me, DH doesn't care if I want to keep some of my traditions, he isn't really into them either but at least he doesn't try to stop me or belittle what it means to me. Now that we have a daughter (8mo), I'm hoping he'll want to join in more and make my traditions into family traditions.
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#23 of 23 Old 11-27-2008, 12:27 AM
 
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There really is hope.

When we first lived together DH, I had to fight with DH simply to get him to tolerate a small tree that I would put up all by myself. This year DH is actually excited by plans to go to a local christmas tree farm to cut our own tree :.

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