Holidays Are Nothing But Women’s Work!

MeGrowing up, the women in my family outnumbered the men, but not by a lot. Probably about 60/40 for most occasions.

As an observant child, I was very aware of patterns and routines that surrounded my childhood and the holidays always perplexed me.

The ladies would run around getting everything ready while the men sat around drinking coffee, talking shop or watching the game on tv.

You can call me the Grinch or Scrooge if you will, but I do not enjoy the hoopla that surrounds most holidays.

Getting together with family and having fun – yes. Planning, preparing and spending countless hours baking and decorating – big, fat no.

So now as an adult, I started thinking… Holidays aren’t really holidays for most women. They are more like unpaid workdays where overtime is required and yet none of the workers complain.

Why is this? Is anyone paying attention to how much goes into your typical holiday festivities and how much of it falls on us women?

Here are some basic activities that most families do to celebrate. How many of these are considered “women’s work” and how many of these chores are men responsible for in your family?

  • Who makes the plans?
  • Who decorates?
  • Who does the shopping?
  • Who wraps the gifts?
  • Who prepares the food?
  • Who cleans?

In generations past, women took on the majority of these tasks. In more recent times, you are likely to see more men sharing the load. That has at least been my observation in the last few decades.

Currently, I have a husband and father who both help in some ways with a few of these tasks and I know men who take one or several of these by themselves. But ultimately, women still bear the brunt of the work even in these “modern” times.

So I am curious… who handles the holiday tasks in your family? Is it mostly the women or are the men involved as well?

This is not a bash on men so please don’t take it there. Tell us about your family traditions in the comments below. Who does most of the work – the men or the women? Or do you think it is shared equally?


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  1. Katie on November 25, 2013 at 5:48 am

    I noticed these same trends growing up as a female in the Deep South. I loved holidays, but over the years realized how much work it entailed. In my adult life, I just opted out. It’s easy to do, not having kids. I’m just not a holiday person, myself. Love seeing decorations, love lights, love seeing what other people do. My sister decorates for Christmas every year because she just likes to do it. But it feels wonderfully subversive to me to opt out. The most I do is slap a red bow on my front door and call it done!

  2. gretchen on November 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I am right there with you Katie. I like the sentiment of the season but all the decorating and baking and shopping exhaust me. I wish I could get away with just a bow on the door!

  3. Angana Thakur on December 16, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I’d like 2 say who does d works mentioned here-
    Who makes the plans?- Mother
    Who decorates?-Mother n me(daughter)
    Who does the shopping?-Mother n father
    Who wraps the gifts?- Mother n me
    Who prepares the food?-Mother(father sometimes)
    Who cleans?-ofcourse mother

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