Our neighborhood held trick-or-treating last night to avoid going out on the Sabbath, and my kids had a ton of fun dressing up and heading out to collect their loot. I took them around, and my husband stayed home to hand out candy to those who came to our house. This is very representative of our personality styles. I’m the one who likes to go out and do things. I can more comfortably navigate my way through social circumstances, and because I’m the “mean” parent, I can herd four overly excited children up and down the street. My husband likes to chill out at the end of the day, and so staying here and allowing his brain to simmer down after working overtime suits him well. He likes social interaction, but on a limited basis, so speaking to occasional trick-or-treaters is just about right. We’ve hit on the right way to make Halloween work with our personalities and in our family.
What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to celebrating the holidays? Does one of you prefer to do the cooking, and the other one prefer to do the decorating? Each holiday brings with it a lot of planning, preparation, and stress. Can you and your spouse sit down, look over the to-do list, and choose the tasks that suit you the best, lightening the load for the other person?
One of the most successful family get-togethers we ever had was held when my third child was born. We had family and friends over to celebrate his blessing day, and I wanted to just relax and enjoy the experience. I asked my husband which tasks he’d be most up to doing, and it turns out, they were the tasks I didn’t enjoy. This is part of the hidden joy that comes from marrying someone different from yourself – you might argue over pizza toppings, but you can usually divvy up the task list and get it all done. At any rate, we each did the jobs that fell in our comfort zone, and it came together beautifully.
As we head into the holiday season, I encourage you to analyze your personality and that of your spouse. If you’re not a shopper, send your spouse out to do it while you decorate. If you’re not a present wrapper, ask your spouse for help while you bake the cookies. Chances are, they’ll be glad to be let off the decorating and cookie-baking hook, and this type of unity will help reduce the holiday stress by a huge percent. And, if you discover that neither one of you really enjoys performing one of the tasks, you can either hire it done, buy one already made, or decide that you don’t need to incorporate that into your celebration after all. Have fun with it! That’s what holidays are for.