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If I Didn’t Buy Presents for My Husband’s Family, Would Santa Ever Come?

Photograph by Twenty20

I’m thinking of growing a beard. The perimenopause I’m experiencing should help me achieve this nicely. I figure the gray beard will make my title of "household Santa Claus" official. I’m doing all the holiday shopping for everyone that the husband and I’ve ever met anyway. As an eager young wife, I joyfully took over this role, but now as a bearded old lady, I’m feeling overwhelmed.

This Santa needs help.

When I first offered to take over all our holiday shopping, I had good reason: The first year we were married, I quickly noticed that all my shopping was thoughtfully done weeks ahead of schedule. For me, this is a quest that I pour great amounts of time and attention into. For my husband, a quick jaunt to the Kwik-E-Mart mere hours before the 25th, and he’s good to go. His way of shopping felt chaotic and made me so nervous that I feared we’d show up to visit his family with no presents at all. It was then I decided I was happy to take hold of our shopping reigns for the future.

I suppose when I offered to buy our family and friends gifts for all of our future, I hadn’t really thought ahead. Over the last 15 years, our gift list has grown and our extended family has increased. These days it feels like I’m shopping for all of the kin and extended family of the Lannisters on "Game of Thrones."

I’m turning into Queen Cersei herself, deviously plotting how to steal a dragon and escape the holidays. I get that I’ve absolutely set up our gift-giving routine this way, but now I don’t want to play Santa alone. Still, our 5-year-old is too young to order from Amazon, and I’m scared to share with my husband.

Focusing on finding that perfect present for all of our tribe makes the making merry part of my season blurry.

My husband is a procrastinator. I’ve asked him why he has this tendency, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. His exciting, last-minute lifestyle is enough to make this watch-wearing, schedule-oriented task master vomit on her calendar app. I’d like to ask for help, but if I give the hubs half of my Santa list, will he be naughty or nice? Do I trust my husband to buy his share of the gifts on time?

Focusing on finding that perfect present for all of our tribe makes the making merry part of my season blurry. With life and other holiday obligations happening, I find myself rushing through moments because of the next moment I must tend to. I’d really like to focus on the joys of the season, like spending time with family, eating baked goods, or watching Hallmark movies. I understand now why Santa employs elves.

For now, I think I’m going to hold off on growing a full beard. I will follow Mr. Claus’ lead here and delegate some tasks out to my nearest available helper. It’s worth a try. Maybe I can start simple (with a small handful of family members) and see how we go from there.

So, I’m going to take a leap this Christmas and hand my husband a list I’ve checked twice while I go and enjoy my sugary Hallmark movie—because it hasn’t escaped my attention that he does get one perfectly wrapped, on-time present under our tree each year: mine.

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