5 Tips to Stop the Grinch Stealing your Christmas!
I love Christmas. Each year Santa practically throws up Christmas on every single inch of my home. Not one single picture frame or surface in my house is left without a festive touch. I have been this way since I was a kid. My mother was (and still is) Christmas mad, and naturally, so am I.
The only problem?
I married The Grinch!
It is not easy living with The Grinch. As soon as the Halloween festivities are over and the scary spiders and ghostly ghouls are taken down from the walls, the tinsel and Christmas lights start edging their way out of the garage. I eagerly go from one fun and over the top holiday to the next. My husband however is the opposite. The second the Halloween decs come down, he starts counting down the days until Boxing Day – when the whole ‘stupid palaver‘ is over.
It doesn’t help that his birthday falls in the month between Halloween and Christmas. So we get the candy high over with, then I start gearing up for Christmas present shopping and he is left there saying ‘it’s my bloody birthday first!‘
The second that November 1st hits, the green hairy face of The Grinch rears its ugly head and I spend the next eight weeks battling against ‘bloody Christmas‘ and ‘it’s just one day for God’s sake‘ or even ‘if I want something, I’ll buy it myself. I don’t need a special day to get something I want‘.
Frustrating. Painful. Grinch. Ba Humbug!
Why can’t people understand that actually, most of those who love Christmas love it because they love to give… not necessarily receive. We love to see the looks on the faces of those we love as they unwrap that gift they wanted all year but had no idea we knew they wanted. We love to see the slightly giddy look in their eyes when they have had just one too many Brandies, or one chocolate more than their damn diet book said they could. It’s a time of love, joy, happiness and indulgence.
Christmas is a time to smile – not grimace!
So at this point I must make a confession. You see. I used to live with The Grinch. For I have successfully converted him. So much so, that last year, when I was finding it particularly difficult to get into the Christmas spirit, he surprised me in the most amazing ways. Buying me a gift each day of December – something Christmassy to remind me why I love the holiday season. You see, it is possible to turn even the greenest of Grinches into the most smileys of Christmas lovers.
Now I hear you all. How the hell did I do it? How did I grind down The Grinch and get him to love and embrace the spirit of Christmas? Well for all those facing a similar fight yourself – here is my fail safe guide to converting your Grinch!
1: Don’t push it
The worst thing you can do with someone who hates the holidays is force them to love it. Don’t push it. Just because they don’t like tinsel doesn’t mean you don’t have to. They have 11 months of the year where they don’t have to put up with it. This is your month. Decorate around them. Let them see how much fun you are having. If they love you, then seeing you smile is all they will need. Don’t ask for help. Just put Michael Bublé or The Rat Pack on loud, make your mince pies, your chocolate bonbons and decorate your tree. The festive love will rub off on them over time! Trust me.
2: Don’t start too early
Learn from my mistake. Those who have Grinch-like tendencies can only live with so much glitter and caroling for so long. Wait until the first weekend in December before you put up the tree, or even the second weekend if you can push it. Each year add a little more decoration around the house. Think of the phrase ‘slowly, slowly catch the monkey’. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
3: Get them involved slowly
My first attempt was small. I bought my other half a stocking. His very own. I hung it next to mine and each year I got his own stocking out of our ‘Christmas Box’ and made a big deal of placing it next to mine. The next year I made sure to buy him an advent calendar and with his cup of tea each morning, I would bring him his chocolate from the calendar. Nowadays he gets his own calendar each year and doesn’t need prompting to do the countdown with us.
4: Communication is the Christmas key
The biggest breakthrough I had with my husband was talking to him about why Christmas was important to me. What it was that I loved and why? But he also explained to me why it was that he didn’t like this time of year. We found a compromise. We found certain aspects we both loved and focused on them. We decided to make our own traditions. Things that we could love about Christmas together.
Communication is key. It always is. It may sound corny and obvious, but that’s because it is! TALK – find out if there is one thing you like about the season together and branch out from there.
5: Don’t get angry
It’s okay if they don’t like Christmas. Not everyone does. And it’s not your place to push it. If they are receptive, that’s great. But if they really are not interested, don’t push it. Everyone has their limits. Marriage and relationships are about respecting boundaries. If your subtle hints have not worked, then back off. They will come over to the ‘light side’ in their own merry time – or not. It’s not your place to push.
As I write this, I am watching my husband put the Christmas lights and garland around our fireplace. The Rat Pack is playing and we are talking about our Christmas Menu. Not the traditional Christmas roast but our own gourmet Christmas meal menu. Our very own tradition that he decided would make him excited about Christmas Day. Something that we now have as our own tradition. Converting a Christmas Grinch is possible – but only if you are both willing to talk and compromise!
Merry Christmas – to all you Christmas lovers and Christmas Grinches alike!