Kucharuk: on the ritual of the holiday shop

Imagine that it is Christmas morning and everyone is sitting in the living room unwrapping presents. Your daughter picks up a present marked, “To Elizabeth, Love Dad xoxo” and she exclaims, “Daddy! What beautiful gift wrapping” and you deflate a bit inside because it was you, the mom, who wrapped the present. Elizabeth continues to unwrap the gift to unveil a lovely jacket, one that she has been wanting for a long time. “Daddy! How did you know? I LOVE it so much” and she rushes over to embrace her father.

At first your husband reacts awkwardly, because he a) didn’t wrap it and b) didn’t buy it and c) had no clue that ‘he’ had bought it. After a momentary lapse of confusion he realizes that you have been his Secret Santa and have once again, made him look like a hero at Christmas. The falsehood continues to perpetuate and by the time breakfast rolls around, your hubby has convinced himself that he had braved the mall on Christmas Eve and purchased the jacket! He regales the tale like a fish story about how he “found the last one on the hangar” and had, “overheard his daughter mentioning the jacket and had set out on a quest to find it for her”.

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We may think that believing in a fat man dressed in a red suit who flies across country in a sled pulled by reindeer is the biggest sham at Christmas, but I would argue that by far, the biggest sham is the number of women who purchase gifts on behalf of men.

My point was validated recently by a story told on CBC the Sunday Edition titled, “Men who give gifts – and the women who buy gifts men give”.  The women on the program spoke about how frustrated they have become as a willing participants in this cover-up.

Now I do not want to generalize because of course, there are many men out there who do all of their own shopping for gifts….but I would say that those men are few and far between.

This gift giving conspiracy is one of the many reasons why women are exhausted during the Holiday season! Not only are they expected to create a beautiful Christmas atmosphere through decorating the tree and the home, but they also spend endless hours shopping for everyone! The cherry on the top is the Red Bull fueled evening wrapping all of gifts before hitting the kitchen table to write the annual Christmas letter.

Exactly how much ‘Leaning In’ are women expected to do before they snap like an over-baked sugar cookie!

Judy Kucharuk is a lover of sarcasm, witty people and footnotes. You can read her book “Naked Tuesday” or catch her on CBC Radio Daybreak North where she shares her “Peace of Mind”. Follow her on twitter @judylaine

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