“His” and “Hers” Christmases

handmakeallthethingsSo Mommies, are you feeling it? Are you feeling the Holiday Stress yet? (Sound of wine bottles uncorking.) I thought so!

What about you, Daddies? Are you feeling it? (Sound of crickets chirping.)

Uh-huh. That’s what I thought.

Why is that? Why is it that we women cringe at the mere mention of the word “December”, while the guys keep saying how much they are looking forward to the Christmas holidays? What’s up with the holiday disconnect?

I was thinking about that very thing the other day as I wandered through the magazine aisle at the grocery store, when I suddenly realized that glancing at the popular women’s and men’s magazines might give me an insight into our consumer zeitgeist. And it certainly did!

Without naming any names (I’m not calling out any specific publications for being any worse than the rest), these are real titles of actual articles in men’s magazines right now:

2014 Baller Gift Guide – These are gifts for the man who has everything, but still wants more of it

2014 Gift Guide – Go Buy Yourself Something Nice

25 Grown up Toys We Want this Holiday Season

Why You Should Just Say No to Ugly Christmas Sweaters

What’s it like to live in that reality? It must be nice. And by the way, those were practically the only articles I saw that acknowledged Christmas at all.

And the women’s magazines? All I can say is holy 1950s!

Thoughtful Handmade Holiday Gifts

DIY Holiday Ornaments You’ll Love

Turn Holiday Photos into Gifts

And on the subject of lovingly handmaking things (we all have time for that, right?) the “Grande Dame” of women’s magazines — you know the one I’m talking about — has so many articles on this theme the issue might as well be called “Special Christmas Issue! HANDMAKE ALL THE THINGS!!!”

Oh but wait! There’s more! There are a multitude of food articles too, such as:

11 Insanely Pretty Cupcakes.

15 Absolutely Stunning Christmas Cookies (let the butter and sugar do the talking).

I’m not making up the part about letting butter and sugar do the talking!

And then, there was an especially insanity-inducing cover (I’m sure you know which magazine I’m talking about) that juxtaposed a very skinny model with a sexy shot of something extremely sugary, and didn’t spare the exclamation points:

Eat Holiday Goodies and Lose 12 Pounds a Week!

End Anxiety with Vanilla Extract!

Beat the Holiday Blues with Eggnog!

British Breakthrough! Chocolate Chip Cookies Cure Holiday Stress!

But then, for a moment, I had a glimmer of hope when I saw 7 Ways to Outsmart Holiday Craziness – this was in that magazine that promises to help us “simplify” our lives (wink).

But no, I was disappointed again. Upon closer look, the article included the following suggestions:

- How to do more environmentally-friendly gift wrapping,

- Advice on going to two parties in one night,

- Why you should bake your teacher’s gift,

- How use calming yoga breathing to deal with annoying relatives,

- How to deal with messy relatives (hint: keep cleaning supplies close at hand),

- Advice on recycling the non-green wrapping paper after Christmas morning…

And then the suggested article next to it was about choosing the perfect Christmas tree (including lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of six different species of tree).

I think you get the picture…

Well, I have a practical suggestion for reducing holiday stress. How about don’t read any women’s magazines this month?

But do read Richmondmom.com. We’re here for you. We keep it real. (Sips wine.)

red wine fireplace


A professional “trailing spouse” and mother of two, Suzanne has lived in several different countries. Her fifth corporate relocation (yes count ‘em, five!) brought her family to Richmond VA in the summer of 2011, and she is really excited about exploring all of the possibilities that Richmond has to offer! Also, she in not moving again. Really. She means it!

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