Men – the Christmas gopher
Many men just can’t get excited about Christmas. Their women wish they would.
It’s not that they don’t enjoy the Christmas celebration, they do. They enjoy
watching the children opening and playing with their gifts. They enjoy the good
food and the atmosphere, but they still could take Christmas or leave it. On
the other hand there are other men that really enjoy the Christmas season. They
get into all the decorating, the shopping, and the planning involved in
preparing for the Christmas celebration.
Why is this? Why is it that some men have such a hard time getting excited
about Christmas? Perhaps it’s because of the limited role they play in the
Christmas preparations. Sure they provide emotional and financial support.
Sure they help run errands. They make some suggestions and take
responsibility for a few parts of the Christmas celebration, but they’re less
involved in the preparations than the women are. Except for dragging out the
decorations, getting the tree, and doing the heavy work the men do little to get
things ready for Christmas. Because of this limited involvement it’s difficult
for men to get excited about Christmas.
Another reason men have trouble getting excited about Christmas is that their
wishes are less represented in the Christmas celebration. Women tend to rely on
their own talents, tastes, and preferences instead of asking the men what they’d
like. Christmas loses the familiar, comfortable aspects that men grew up with.
It’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. The comfort and familiarity of the
old pair is rarely recaptured.
A third reason men aren’t as excited about Christmas is they feel like they’re
attending another’s party, observing another’s celebration. Because their
decision-making power is limited men feel they are a spectator to their wives
production. Someone on the outside looking in.
The Christmas celebration is definitely not a spectator sport. The next few
exercises, taken from Unplug The Christmas Machine by Jo Robinson and Jean
Coppock Staeheli, are designed to help men move from the spectator to the
participant, from the gopher to a co-planner.
Exercise 1: Rating Your Enjoyment of Last Year’s Christmas Activities
1. Scan the list below and cross off the activities that you weren’t involved
in, adding those that we have overlooked.
Decorating the house
Decorating the tree
Shopping for gifts
Going to parties
Going to Christmas performances
Christmas activities with your children
Christmas activities at work
Religious activities at home
Family Christmas gathering
2. Beside each of the remaining activities, assign a number from 1 to 10 that
shows how much you enjoyed doing it last year. A 10 shows the most pleasure.
Feel free to add comments.
3. Think about what, overall, gave you the greatest pleasure last Christmas.
4. Which activities or situations gave you the least pleasure?
Exercise 2: Remembering Your Childhood Christmas
1. Think back to your childhood Christmas. Which traditions, activities, or
occasions were particularly pleasurable for you?
2. Of these important childhood memories, which of them are reflected in your
Exercise 3: An Exercise For Married Men – Your Role in Your Current Celebration
1. Which of the following statements most accurately reflects your role in your
A. My wife determines nearly all of the holiday events.
B. My wife determines more of the holiday events than I do.
C. We share the planning fifty-fifty.
D. My influence predominates.
2. How do you feel about this arrangement?
Exercise 4: Drawing Conclusions
1. From everything you know about yourself and Christmas, ideally, what changes
would you like to make in the coming celebration? (For the moment, don’t take
into consideration how realistic or unrealistic these changes may be.)
2. For married men: What do you most want your wife to know about how you feel
When you complete these exercises, be ready to discuss the results with your
The Christmas Pledge
Believing in the beauty and simplicity of Christmas, I commit myself to the
1. To remember those people who truly need my gifts
2. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents
3. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family
4. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of Christmas
5. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family and friends
The material presented here was taken from the book Unplug The Christmas Machine
by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli published by William Morrow and