Christmas and the "Husband Syndrome"

OK, I feel confident my husband isn't the only one who does this, but need some confirmation.

I suspect most wives are responsible for buying most of the presents for anyone and everyone. I buy for both sides of the family. I was really proud of myself this year b/c I went shopping early and thought I was pretty much done....until my husband looks over everything I bought for the girls and makes his proclamation (like he does every year): "I thought you went shopping?"

After I peeled myself off the ceiling, I calmly made arrangements for the both of us to go out Sunday so he could buy some "real" stuff they wanted for Christmas. I don't know why I bother shopping at all as he buys twice as much as I do anyway. He must be making up for some childhood trauma he suffered as a child.


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  • After being married for nearly 30 years, I learned never to criticize my wife's shopping at this time of year. Or, I might end up doing it. Yep, she does most of the shopping. She even buys some of her own presents - she sees something she wants, she buys it and makes me wrap it.
  • Ray, I am with you. After being married nearly 25 years, I hope that I am about trained by now. My young bride also buys most all of the gifts; however, the boys and I still do the shopping for Mom's gifts. For the past few years, she has done nearly all of her shopping on line and has yet to enter "the mall" this shopping season. Thank goodness for FedX, UPS, etc...
  • My hubby is just the opposite. In his family few gifts were given when he was little, and nothing after he was grown (same for birthdays). My shopping for people other than our children and maybe our parents was a concept hard for him to take in. Plus, no matter what I spent it was too much (even for our kids).

    We finally came to an agreement. We have a budget which I allocate among the people we give to (nearly 30 people), and I stick to it. He helps me find stuff, and is often the one standing in line while I am looking. However, he still constantly asks me if I have gone over and am I sure about how much I have spent. It drives me crazy sometimes. I finally created a spreadsheet where I have everyone listed and how much I have spent. He checks it daily until I agree that I am done. I sometimes find it irratating, and sometimes funny. Either way, at least we are not fighting over every $5 gift, and he is all smiles when he sees the happiness on the face of the receiver.

  • Give my wife a spreadsheet to follow then daily monitor her spending habits. I like it.
  • Oh gosh! If I gave mine a spreadsheet he'd laugh me out of the house and vice versa. We save up for Christmas with the full intention of blowing it out. They're only young once and I want it to be a magical morning for them.

  • Last night I was doing some last minute shopping with my wife and told her about this thread. Her only comment was to say she wished I would take more interest in buying presents. I will end up doing most of the wrapping and get a back ache from it. Just call me Scrooge.
  • What to you mean "last minute shopping"? Counting today I still have 4 maybe 5 days left (if you include Sunday)!!!

  • WILL end up? Does that mean you still have most of the wrapping to do?

    I like to wrap, but you do get a backache if you do it too long in one sitting. I try to wrap as soon as I bring it home. That staggers it out and helps prevent forgetting who I bought it for (with 4 daughters, 3 sons-in-law, and 8 grandchildren that happens alot).

    On an aside: I supposed the spreadsheet does sound bizarre. He is fine with how much we spend. We agree the year before on the amount and save for it all year. But, for some reason he frets that I will go overboard and we will end up borrowing tons to buy presents. I have no idea where this came from, but...there it is. I don't mind the spreadsheet (I do them a lot here at work) if it gives him peace of mind. It is just that sometimes (like at the end of a long shopping day) his fretting becomes annoying. I usually say something I'll regret and he snaps out of it.


  • Not only do I do all the Christmas shopping for my husband's family and wrap it all... I have them all over for a formal dinner (usually about 21 or so) with all the china and crystal. (I was up Sunday night until Midnight washing pots and pans and still have all this to put back up.) I do all the food buying and cooking for this as well. He gets "inspired" about 3 days before Christmas and goes to the nearest book store and buys all these books (that I guess he likes) that are not appropriate for anyone I know and I have to wrap them. He thinks he has done good. (I wish he would just get them gift certificates... as much as I hate that, it would be better than something that they will never read). On well, he means well. He used to be good about my gifts, but now he gets really off the wall stuff... I guess that means we don't need anything. (Still better than my Dad giving my mother a johnny seat cover one year and a tool box the next. I guess he was glad when we, his 2 daughters, got big enough to go with him.)
    E Wart
  • oh, that's too funny! Well, karma is coming back to get my husband this year. He went out and bought the girls a trampoline. He was so proud of himself. I then informed him that he has to put that thing together Christmas the dark. I reminded him that our nieces got a trampoline for Christmas a few years ago and they were so amazed with it. Every year they tell the story about how "Santa must have dropped that big trampoline from the sky"!

    There's no way you can't put this one together. What will the kids think? They're not good enough for Santa to put their trampoline together?

    He's not happy. At least I told him he didn't have to help wrap presents... :)
  • My neighobrs got a trampoline a couple years back for their kids. Turns out this little gift also had an impact on their home owners insurance. The risk of injury assoicated with a home trampoline casued their rates to increase.
    I can't imagine trying to put that together without the kids knowing about it until Christmas morning....
    Good luck
  • Not to be a Grinch but..... you might want to check with your insurance company. I've heard of some refusing to cover a house with a trampoline.
  • Knock on wood, my soon-to-be husband does his own shopping and wrapping. He is a bit anal on the wrapping as it has to be perfect and the tape can't show, but whatever floats his boat. I too save up all year for the gifts but inevitably end up going over. As of right now he doesn't know how much I spend. We'll see what he does next year!
  • Every year I know I will end up Christmas eve wrapping gifts, but I keep putting it off in hopes my wife will. I always lose the standoff. Our daughter used to do some but she moved out over 7 years ago. I'll do the same this year, wait until the last minute.
  • I do all the Christmas cards, most of the shopping and all of the wrapping. We usually do our big blowout for each other at our anniversary and then for everyone else at Christmas. My trick is getting my husband to get his shopping done in November so we can get shipping to out of staters before the rush. He is not a shopper so the urge usually does not hit him until about 12/24 so it doesn't get shipped until after Christmas (but it's his family!). I just cannot get him to grasp the concept that it has more pizzaz as a Christmas gift if they open at Christmas vs. a month later! Oh well, he does very well with the anniversary so I can't complain too much!
  • Every year, I do almost all the shopping and wrapping. We never really discuss it - I just get it done, and he likes what I pick out.

    Except for our kids' gifts, that is... I am practical, and he's a small child in a 240 pound man's body. I argue that we need to buy toyboxes, bookshelves, clothes, etc., and he argues they need toys. (They get plenty of toys from the rest of the family, they already have tons, do we really need MORE?) He usually wins on that front, though.

    This year, he picked out bicycles for our boys, and I must say he did a great job. x:-)
  • And I just realized last night there were a couple things "she who must be obeyed" mentioned that she'd like and I neglected to get them. Guess I'll be doing some real last minute shopping.
  • Hah! Mine hasn't even started yet. He always waits until the last minute and then gripes about the people and traffic, yada, yada. And today, it's raining cats & dogs all day. I think it's supposed to rain all the way up to Christmas. Yuck!!
    I like that: "she who must be obeyed". I'll have to pass that along. Good luck, Ray.

  • There was a British program from the late 80s, early 90s about a grumpy old barrister called "Rumpole of the Bailey". And one of the stories within the story was his interaction with his wife who he referred to behind her back as "She who must be obeyed", said with gravity and respect if not fear.
  • Ray, thanks for the reminder of "Rumpole of the Bailey" I knew I had heard the expression "She who must be obeyed" on some program but I just couldn't place it. Must be another of those darn senior moments...
  • Our Facilities Manager addresses our VP as "She Who Must Be Obeyed". She likes it. x:-)

    I thought he came up with it on his own - will have to ask if he's just quoting Rumpole.
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