Got Unreasonable Christmas Expectations?

What are your Christmas expectations? We all have expectations, how can we not? Expectations can add to our excitement and enjoyment, but they can also set us up for disappointment and problems.

I don't like this gift! © vladimirfloyd |

Are your holiday expectations reasonable? Do they get in the way of you and/or your family enjoying the holidays? Do your expectations make it difficult for you or your family to celebrate the true reason for the season?

A few problematic expectations to get you thinking:

  • What do you expect in the way of gifts? Are you often disappointed in what you receive? Do you feel your husband misses it or doesn’t put enough effort into what he gives you?
  • Are your expectations of your kids behaviour realistic?
  • Do you have unrealistic expectations for how family gatherings will go?
  • How about traditions? Do you get upset if one is missed or “done wrong”. Traditions are great, and a good way to build love and make memories, but when the tradition is more important than the family you have a problem.
  • What about your time? Do you expect to be able to do far more than you really can, resulting in tiredness, grumpiness, and worse?

Having unrealistic expectations for yourself is bad. Putting unrealistic expectations on others is unloving.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m doing better at having reality-based expectations!

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10 Comments on “Got Unreasonable Christmas Expectations?

  1. I expect one sided sex, no gifts under the tree and nothing in my stocking and that’s what I get. Still disappointed, but that’s how it usually is after over a decade of Christmases together. I have told him exactly what I would like many times, but it falls on deaf ears. He really just doesn’t like the false pressure of having to do anything just because someone appointed the day a holiday, but they are important to me. I have come to accept that is how he is and dump my expectations, but it still is a twinge of hurt every holiday.

  2. @libl, I’m so sorry! I hope you have some sisters or sisters in Christ nearby that can help you celebrate the holidays. I’ll be praying for you.

    My husband is a great provider, but it’s a good thing gifts aren’t my love language! He is always so busy, that a gift for me is the last thing he thinks of. He usually goes shopping on Christmas Eve. I could honestly care less about the gift, but it’s the fact that I’m just an afterthought that gets to me. And as smart as he is, he stinks at picking gifts. I am thankful for whatever he gives me, but it’s hard to know it was most likely picked up in a hurry out of obligation. Sometimes he will ask me what I want, and if I told him exactly he’d go get it, but where’s the love in that?? Put a little thought into it! I like surprises. (In his defense though, a lot of his “surprise” ideas are not good.) and buying something in the wrong size? Oh my. Men, don’t do that! Bad, bad, bad! I’m currently an 8. If he buys a 12, oh my! Do you think I’m that size??? And if he buys a 6, yikes! Are you trying to tell me I should be smaller?? As I type this, it does seem tough for my hubby. Maybe just stay away from clothes! :)

    My boys are teens, so their behavior is usually pretty great!

    I used to have wrong expectations of family gatherings, but we’ve learned how it will probably go and how to handle it and when to excuse ourselves. We are the only born again believers on both sides of our family, so sometimes we get attacked. But sometimes we get great opportunities to witness, so that part is a blessing!

    I could care less about traditions. I’m not a very tradition-y person. I like doing things differently sometimes. We actually have more fun and varied memories without the traditions. We finally escaped from the dreaded (and I mean dreaded) family Thanksgiving a few years ago, and we’ve had a great time the past couple years, doing something different each year. One year my son built goal posts and hosted a game at the park. It was awesome!

    I used to get majorly crazy trying to do all and be all things to all people. At the ripe old age of 40, I’ve learned to slow down and simplify. Sometimes I feel a twinge of guilt for this, but my family is much happier when I’m calmer and enjoying the holidays with them.

    • Thank you. I do have others around me to help me celebrate.

      I think I am mostly just peeved that whenever we hit a wall or line in the sand in our relationship, I am the one who bows out. He gets his way and I do not. Part of it is because of who I am. I have never been good at standing up for myself. And I married a stubborn man who fights dirty.

      I respect that he is not big on holidays and forced obligations. It makes sense to me. I also respect his boundary of, “if you want xyz, go for it, but don’t expect me to be right there with you.”

      A good example would be, say I want to run a marathon. He’s say ok, run your marathon! I certainly wouldn’t expect him to run it with me, but it would be nice if he watched the kids so I could train, and cheered me on the from side lines. Instead, I am on my own the whole way….I just have his “permission.”

      And yet if he wants to do something, if I am not able to be right there beside him, I am at least in the sidelines. I sacrificed half a decade for him and one of his big life events. Would it kill him to wrap a few well chosen gifts and out them under the tree for me?

      I am glad to sacrifice and love for him and I don’t do it for tit for tat, but the massive imbalance is apparent.

    • @Me “As I type this, it does seem tough for my hubby. Maybe just stay away from clothes!”
      Sizes one women’s clothes are beyond what any man can understand! I’ve seen two items the exact same size with different numbers on the tags. It seems to me you can get a smaller number if you pay more, but I might be wrong on that!
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Christmas With a Quality Time WifeMy Profile

      • This showed up in my Facebook news feed:

        Listen up, fellas
        My husband declares he has no idea what to get me for christmas….because I “haven’t given him a list”.
        Wife tip…..we share a bank account. And we’re both adults with working vehicles and decision making skills. Giving you a list of what i want just adds 14 steps to me buying my own shit.
        So I’m about to do every fella a favor here…..
        Here’s some stuff she wants, but won’t get, or plan, for herself. You’re welcome.
        1. Mani/Pedi…between diapers, laundry, kids, dishes, and work, her feet and hands are ruined possibly forever….make them soft and pretty (for at least 2 weeks)
        2. Massage (a professional one…not a coupon for 4 minutes of you rubbing her back through her shirt in the hopes of ultimately getting laid)
        3. An empty house for 24-72 hours. NO LESS. but longer would be cool.
        4. A planned weekend with her friends. Fancy hotel, ALL plans pre-made, kids arranged, concert/play/movie/event tickets bought.
        5. A cleaning company to come and do even just ONE deep clean of the house. We know about the dust bunnies. We’ve named them. They’re not going anywhere unless we have hired help.
        6. An upgrade to her engagement/wedding set. a new wrap, added stones, whatever suits her.
        7. Concert tickets w backstage passes. Sitter (or lets face it, grandma) booked. Hotel overnight a bonus.
        8. Get her car detailed. There are more
        cheerios under those carseats than aisle 7 of walmart.
        9. Facials/Massages/Hair appointments PRE-BOOKED for as many months as you can afford without getting a second mortgage. (Bonus points if you work them nicely into her schedule and make arrangements for where the kids will be…..the hair appointments ive canceled due to no sitter makes my hairdressers soul cry)
        10. Dish duty (laundry duty/kids bath duty/grocery duty/ meal planning duty/that things she HATES TO DO duty) for one. whole. month. don’t just make a cute coupon, hide it in a drawer, and then weasel out of the work. STICK TO IT.
        11. Gift cards for a girls night out. (Besties notified and booked!)
        12. A weekend, with you, in “the big city”. Plans made. Sitters booked.
        13. A local hotel room booked for her for a whole night (or two!)….ALONE! set up the room before she gets there. Have the hotel remove the alarm clock.
        14. “That incredibly pointless but so pretty thing she drools over in a magazine but wont ever ever ever purchase, because responsibilities and shit”
        15. Jewelry. duh. and so help me if you buy her something in the shape of a butterfly or heart, or that changes her finger colors, may your willie turn green out of sympathy.
        16. Designate a “Moms day” for a whole year. “Sundays you leave the house, and you don’t look back, and I won’t call you when you’re 3 minutes down the road asking where we keep the milk.”
        17. Think about the one thing shes vented about multiple times in the last month. Now figure out how to make it go away for at least a week.
        18. Hack her pinterest. There’s your list.
        There. Now go. Don’t tell her where you got the idea.

      • @Paul, ha ha! Ok, I agree! It’s far easier to buy clothes for men.
        And yes, the “vanity sizing” is often worse at higher end stores. I believe the theory is that if a woman thinks she wears a smaller size she will feel better and spend more money.
        And yes, I do have clothes in my closet that all fit me now but range from a 6 to a 10. And a couple things from the jr. section that are an 11/13. I guess it can be confusing for guys. I would advise my husband to stick to jewelry and hats! :)

  3. My hubby still remembers a bathrobe he bought MANY years ago that I returned because the stitching on the chest area made me itch.

    A couple of years ago I gave him a great help by pointing out three specific items I would like and use: wallet, wrist watch, earrings. I’m a claustrophobic minimalist, and practical as well, so this worked beautifully for us.

    The most meaningful gifts have always been the pillow gifts–a wrapped piece of jewelry found on my pillow at the end of the day after all the hubbub has subsided.

    Even better than the jewelry was one comment: “the color of the stone matches your eyes.”

    Paul, thanks for the vision of dust bunnies running off with the milk. Tee-hee-hee!

    • @IntimacySeeker – Yup, an eyes comment is golden!

      Before we moved into the RV we had a bed with drawers, but stuff could still blow under. When we took it down we found enough dog hair to make several dogs. But the dog hair creatures seemed to be feeding on the dust bunnies, so there was that.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…A Special Box of ChocolatesMy Profile

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