Ah, winter. The leaves have changed and fallen, there’s a nice chill in the air, and the holiday season is upon us.
Did that last part stress you out a little? If so, you’re certainly not alone. The holiday season offers great joy with lots of opportunities to connect with friends, family, and neighbors. And we can’t forget the presents!
All that fun also requires work, planning, time, and effort. Presents don’t just materialize under the tree, despite what your children may believe. The house doesn’t decorate itself; Christmas cards don’t magically appear in friends’ mailboxes; and costumes, meals, and other treats must be handcrafted (or bought more likely). Even treasured family traditions require planning and preparation. And don’t get me started on the parties!
A Pressure Cooker Christmas
Cultural pressure hits women hard around the holidays. For proof, check out the covers of women’s magazines in November and December, or sit through one TV show’s worth of holiday-themed commercials. The message is loud and clear: It’s women who cook, decorate, and coordinate gifts. Happily, I might add, and without a hair out of place!
This holiday housework goes largely unnoticed and certainly doesn’t make it into Christmas books or Thanksgiving pageants. At Christmastime, women are actually encouraged to give credit for their hard work to a certain red-suited, cookie-loving man with a beard. If we all had an army of elves at work in our houses, we could afford to be jolly and carefree too! But reality looks quite different.1