Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas is a Woman's Game

I know exceptions exist, but I think most would agree: The Christmas experience is really a woman's game. We're the ones who want it, need it, love it, and run it. One of my friends complained that her husband doesn't help with the cards, the presents, the decorations, and so on. Right. That's because he's a guy. He barely knows when it's December. He would rather shop for your tampons at the drugstore than for other people's gifts. And as for hanging wreaths and mistletoe, he thinks it strips him of the last shred of masculinity he salvaged after that time five years ago when he agreed to put his finger down on a gift ribbon so you could tie it into a bow.

Even as a woman who actually cut holiday card sending out of her task list years ago, I'm pretty sure I still have a lot more plans for the Yuletide than my husband. I've mused about where the tree will go in our house. I've jotted it down whenever somebody has expressed desire for something that I could buy them as a gift. I've bought the ingredients to bake snowman-shaped ginger snaps. Jim, however, has probably had a grand total of one Christmas-related thought: "Where are my car keys?" Keys are related to Christmas because you need them to drive away from Christmas-related activities.

Since women are often more nurturing, I guess it would then follow that we're more interested in the whole holiday togetherness and gift-giving extravaganza. Or maybe we're just more materialistic—specifically, more likely to equate material gifts with love. And maybe we're just more desperate for distraction from our mundane January-to-November lives, and possibly also still connected to the fantasy that some fat fatherly fellow in a red suit will shower us with all the stuff we ever wanted that men never gave us. God, it's great being a girl.

In keeping with their non-Christmas-mindedness, men also seem to need more straightforward hints about what women want for Christmas. A man can say, "I need to exercise more," and his wife will immediately be able to extrapolate, "That means he wants that 10.5mm x 165' climbing rope and an altimeter watch." A woman could write down for her husband, "The L. L. Bean catalog I put by your computer, page 72, item #3476, size small, in the burgundy," and she'd still wind up with an Allen wrench.

The whole Santa Claus legend should have been about a woman who distributes gifts, not a man. I bet this "Mrs. Claus" behind the scenes has always been the one orchestrating the whole deal. She's the one who keeps track of the naughty and nice lists, prepares all the gifts, and feeds and cleans up after the reindeer, while Santa simply goes out for one night and gets all the glory.

What is it that we women really want from men during Christmastime? We want you to get in the kitchen with us and bury your hands in raw cookie dough. We want you to plan parties with all the trimmings. We want you to delight in wrapping presents with designer paper and silk bows and bell-shaped chocolates with foil-wrapped M&M's as the clappers. We want you to buy us sentimental, all-I-want-for-Christmas-is-you greeting cards. We want you to build fires, light candles, sing carols, and get all tingly because December 25 is just around the corner. We just want you to be more like us in every way, that's all.

If that's too hard, just at least remember, item #3476, from the L. L. Bean catalog, page 72.