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Hubby hates holidays

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 26, 2009 01:53 PM

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Q: What do you think of a spouse that does not in any way celebrate the holidays? No gifts or cards for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Valentines Day, etc. He's great about lots of other things but does not do holidays. I am hurt by this as they are important to me but he doesn't understand that.
-- Red

A: What about Chrismukkah?

Sorry. Kidding.

Look, the fact that he’s “great about lots of other things” is probably more important than his treatment of holidays. Still, I understand why his special-occasion-phobia would bother you, especially when it comes to anniversaries. You’d think he’d want to celebrate your success as a married couple. But I get it -- some people just can’t deal with obligation, malls, deadlines, and all that comes with holiday festivities.

If your spouse is one of those people – and you’re the opposite – a compromise might be a joint gift. Once a year (pick the most random day possible), both of you choose one gift that will improve your lives as a pair. It could be a vacation, a television, a comfy piece of furniture … an annual splurge that’s a joint investment.

It'll be fun to work together to pick it out, and you’ll both be able to enjoy the result. Seems like a fair compromise.

On a side note, I’m curious to know how he feels about St. Patrick’s Day. If he spends it anywhere near Guinness, you have my permission to call him a hypocrite.

Readers? How should Red cope with a hubby who abhors holidays? Share here. Submit your own letter for here (make it juicy – Boston.com readers are bored at work/home and are more than happy to spend the afternoon solving your problems). Read yesterday's chat here. Read about the Celtics and Love Letters here.

-- Meredith

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46 comments so far...
  1. Wasn't your spouse like this before you were married? Didn't lack of holidays bother you then? If so, why did you get married? And why are you complaining now? Simply put, if there was no "bait & swtich", you have nothing to complain about. You should not go into situations thinking you will change your partner.

    Posted by Alvin February 26, 09 02:18 PM
  1. I have to say I sort of agree with Alvin if he was like this before you got married you lost your right to complain. You can still be hurt and unhappy but you really cannot complain since you knew it going in. You cannot change someone unless they want to change. I would find it annoying as well because I like birthdays etc and so does my DH.

    I have to wonder what your DH's family was like? Growing up it was normal to get presents for birthdays, Christmas, Easter and anniversaries (my parents) and Mother and Father's day and that shaped how I do holidays. I buy for my siblings and their spouses and their kids and my parents, and mirroring that for my inlaws. And we give gifts rather than cash unless there are a bunch of us going in on a $$$ gift as a general rule.

    As a contrast my BIL's family never did presents for birthdays they got a cake that was it, it wasn't a money issue (at least that is what I am told and will take it for face value) and so to this day he never knows what he wants. This flumoxes us, but I have managed to somewhat adjust, I just give him money and he can do what he wants when he wants even if it isn't on his birthday. Ideally I would like to give him a gift but cash will have to do because I couldn't not give him something.

    Is he under the impression that you want the moon and the stars and feels that he will mess up? Have you in the past returned what he had gotten you or have you been un happy with your gifts? If so that could lead him to not want to do gifts and not acknowlege that you are hurt by his inactions and not acknowledge that he was hurt by your words. What about the gift is important? The actual gift or acknowlegement of a milestone, understanding that may help you explain to him in a different way why you are hurt by the lack of gifts. And then maybe he can come up with a way of acknowledging the milestone in a different way.

    Posted by LIZ February 26, 09 03:50 PM
  1. Why don't you tell your hubby that you want to try something new in the bedroom for each holiday you want to celebrate, but that it requires that he recognize the holiday with a small gift or a card?

    You can try and nag him into it, or you can entice him. I'll tell you which one would be far more effective in getting me into the holiday spirit!

    Posted by J February 26, 09 03:54 PM
  1. you know, the wife of the green river killer (most prolific serial killer ever) said the same thing about her husband. he never gave gifts or acknowledged birthdays, etc but he was "great in lots of other ways".

    Posted by fyi February 26, 09 05:49 PM
  1. Think about which holidays are truly meaningful for you and which ones you just celebrate out of "tradition." Is it REALLY important to celebrate all the things you've mentioned? If for example Christmas or birthdays are really REALLY important to you, maybe you could talk to your husband and compromise: "We don't need to do the holidays that aren't important like Valentine's Day or Flag Day or whatever, but it's very important to me that we participate in Christmas celebrations."

    Some people just don't care about holidays or have negative connotations or never celebrated them as kids. Why don't you TALK to your husband about it?

    Posted by susan February 26, 09 07:03 PM
  1. When I was growing up, my family made it a point to be brutally honest about the gifts they got, forgetting the spirit of the occasion. I learned to dread any holiday involving gifts. It became my job to create holiday cheer, and I found it stressful rather than fun.

    I /do/, however, like holidays that involve only food, no gifts. I love being taken out for my birthday, and I love Thanksgiving. Sometimes people invite me over for Christmas or insist on celebrating my birthday, and it is hard to explain why this would only be stressful for me. I do appreciate getting a gift at some random time of year from someone who says, "I saw this and I thought you'd like it."

    Posted by Cheet February 27, 09 12:03 AM
  1. Make a new rule yourself: intimacy only on holidays/birthdays/anniversaries. He'll be wearing a party hat in no time.

    Posted by Anonymous February 27, 09 07:12 AM
  1. What exactly is it about the holidays he doesn't like? The gift-getting? The social obligations? Visiting family? The upset in routine?

    I'm not buying that he doesn't "do" holidays - I'm guessing that there's something about the holidays that bothers him and he deals with it by deciding just not to "do" them.

    If the holidays are important to you, you owe it to yourself to find out what the real issue is, and deal with it together as a couple. if it's the financial obligations, pare back; if it's social, limit get-togethers or other commitments, etc.

    Posted by I'm_At_Work February 27, 09 08:34 AM
  1. Groundhog day is always the most dissappointing for me.......... Wife see's her shadow, and hibernates for 4 additional months..... until flag day, when I get called for unsportsmanlike conduct! Then she penalizes me for 15 yards! No replay, no play!

    Posted by Dirk Digler February 27, 09 08:45 AM
  1. As a guy I think it's ridiculous for this woman's husband to not even bother to get her a card. I mean, come on--it's a pretty small thing, and in relationships we all compromise. I personally dislike most holidays for a number of reasons, but I know it's important to my gf that we celebrate them...so I do. Big deal, it's one day.

    To wilfully and repeatedly ignore something so obviously important to your spouse points to much larger problems in my opinion. Either this couple doesn't communicate well (likely) or the husband is using this as a passive-aggressive form of retaliation for something else.

    Posted by Paul February 27, 09 08:49 AM
  1. Everything is a Hallmark holiday now, it's not a holiday if gifts are not given, exchanged whatever and i hate it. i grew up in a somewhat religious family, Christmas was a time to be together, celebrate what it means, share a meal be thankful. Now it's about who got what. Everyone's obsessed with gifts, no one knows why we celebrate Christmas anymore.

    If i buy a gift for my spouse it's not enough that she likes it, it got got to pass muster with friends and family coz they are all gonna call to find out and in an unspoken it a game of one upmanship, coz if my gift was extravagant, or theirs was, guess what ? my next gift better rival it (you can't say we're competing though)

    I'm at a good place in life, most things i want i can get for myself, i've had to come up with things i don't want becoz someone insists on giving me something. Maybe it's just me but i have a problem also with having to keep coming up with creative gifts for adults, gifts should mostly be for children up to a certain age. I Love the Sox, Patriots, Celtics but i swear if i get another t-shirt/sweatshirt of them.................

    Posted by Anonymous February 27, 09 09:22 AM
  1. I had a similar problem and if I gave him a gift, he would get angry. I was concerned about the effect this would have on how our children would treat their spouses, so I started scheduling birthday dinners OUT and I paid. Each person whose birthday it was selected the restaurant. When it was his turn, he refused because there was food at home. The children insisted he play by the rules, even if his choice was McDonalds. He's still a jerk on this issue but our children are loving and generous spouses and partners. He gave me a carton of soy milk and a package of dental floss for Christmas, now that we are divorced.

    Posted by Chocolate chip February 27, 09 09:25 AM
  1. He's just cheap and lazy, and he doesn't care much for her feelings.

    Posted by Arlene February 27, 09 09:31 AM
  1. Is he a perfectionist? Does he hate getting things wrong? Holidays are difficult for some guys because in many cases we have no idea what we're doing. There's always someone who has a better idea or are more financially able to do something for their S.O. that we cannot. The constant carpet bombing of advertisements surrounding every holiday only makes it worse.

    Also, ask your self something. Have you ever shown real disappointment at a gift he may have gotten you in the past that may have embarrassed him?

    Sounds like the pressure to get it perfect may be too much for him, so he chooses not to do anything - which is a cop out. He should know you.

    ......or he could just be really lazy.

    Posted by guessing February 27, 09 09:47 AM
  1. Is it safe to assume that this is not a religious issue? I'm guessing that that would have been mentioned. I grew up in a family with a mother who was a Jehovah's Witness. My father was not a member of that faith, but he let my mother raise us how she wanted to - we did not celebrate ANY holiday, whether it was relgious or secular. Now, in my 30s, I am not a member of that religion, and have not practiced it in close to 20 years. Yet, all holidays are completely meaningless to me. I would prefer to avoid the hassle associated with them. But, they mean a lot to my significant other, so I basically follow his traditions now.

    Are you sure that your husband didn't grow up with a similar situation and just doesn't talk about it?

    Posted by Beth February 27, 09 09:49 AM
  1. My boyfriend (of almost 3 years) doesn't like me spending money on him, especially presents. I get him something anyways. He deals with it, but gripes that he'll feel bad if he doesn't use it. I don't really care if he uses it or not--part of the fun is trying to figure out what that "perfect" gift would be! For his birthday/Christmas (yep, he's a Christmas baby) I got him a Blu-ray DVD player--he was really excited and uses it! For Valentines Day, I made him a surprise over-the-top themed dinner (I tried to recreate one of our favorite meals, it both surprised him and touched him) plus I made him his favorite dessert. I think that that was his favorite gift to date!

    The other side of this is that he knows how much I love holidays, so he deals with it!

    Posted by InLoveIntheBurbs February 27, 09 11:12 AM
  1. Think about it this way, a lot of our holiday hype is quite literally sponsored by Hallmark and FTD. Special occasions are special to you. Valentine's Day is special to Hallmark's annual profit.

    Posted by SM_Boston February 27, 09 11:18 AM
  1. Wow! There are some pretty harsh assessments of people who don't like gift giving on demand here. My family (DH, two sons) don't exchange gifts on holidays. We are generous and loving with each other all year but don't really get into "things". We make a point of doing things together during the November/December holiday extravaganza...but going to the mall isn't one of them.

    And I really don't like being required to give a gift. If you are having a baby or getting married, you can count on me to send you something. But I'm not as happy to do it if you tell me what you want and schedule a shower.

    If her husband is never generous, never surprises her with flowers or something he thinks she'd like...then she's got a valid complaint. If he just doesn't dance to the tune of Hallmark, then ...it's time to put things in perspective.


    Posted by ALice February 27, 09 11:56 AM
  1. My husband is the same way. He's great around the house, brings home flowers for no apparent reason and is a great father. He hates major holidays. I think he feels pressure to perform to some stupid standard set up the flower, card, or gift industry. I get that, but the holidays are still important to me.
    So, I order something I really like (this Valentine's Day, for example, I ordered a cappuccino maker I really wanted). It may be cheating but at least I don't feel like a loser when someone asks me what my hubby got me for such-and-such holiday!

    Posted by Melsa February 27, 09 11:59 AM
  1. It sounds interesting to me that you include birthdays and anniversaries as holidays. These events to me are not holidays but personal occasions. You say he does not give you a card, but do you do anything on any of these dates for him? Was there a traumatic event that happened to him on a holiday? Was he raised as a Jehovah's Witness?

    Personally, I am not one of those people who is big into the gift giving thing. My husband and I don't exchange gifts for every holiday or special occasion. We do not celebrate Valentine's Day and several other "holidays". If there are some other traditions you would like to follow, perhaps you can compromise. I don't think it would be fair to try to celebrate every holiday. Perhaps, he just doesn't believe in gift giving, including cards, because society tells him it's time to. There are other ways of celebrating, and perhaps, that's what you two have to work out.

    Posted by HappilyMarriedHalmarkHater February 27, 09 12:04 PM
  1. SM_Boston,

    I'm wondering why it took so long for somebody to state the fact that most holidays are purely commercial propaganda.

    Why am I supposed to be especially nice to my wife on Valentine's day? I'd rather be at my best EVERY DAY.

    Why do I need to buy all that candy for Halloween? Take a guess...

    I treat my family and friends as well as I can every day, and I don't care whether somebody tries to brainwash me into behaving differently on a random day just so they make a fortune.

    Posted by HBX February 27, 09 12:04 PM
  1. SM_Boston,

    I'm wondering why it took so long for somebody to state the fact that most holidays are purely commercial propaganda.

    Why am I supposed to be especially nice to my wife on Valentine's day? I'd rather be at my best EVERY DAY.

    Why do I need to buy all that candy for Halloween? Take a guess...

    I treat my family and friends as well as I can every day, and I don't care whether somebody tries to brainwash me into behaving differently on a random day just so they make a fortune.

    Posted by HBX February 27, 09 12:04 PM
  1. Yeah, after my first wife screeched with fury when I got her a handmade silver necklace from a jeweler I knew - not the first time or the last when my gifts were harshly judged for spending too much, too little, not being quite what she wanted, being too frivolous, being too serious ... - I wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about getting her gifts. In my observation, the "Reds" of the world are absolutely NOT in the "it's the thought that counts" camp.

    And you know something? Some people just don't have the $$ to blow on the lavish gifts people seem to demand nowadays. I sure don't want my wife spending $200 on a present for me when I'm struggling to pay the bills every month.

    Posted by Ravenswing February 27, 09 12:16 PM
  1. I wonder why he doesn't like holidays. He probably just doesn't like false tradition that he feels no connection to.

    Maybe instead of celebrating holidays in the traditional sense, you can tell him you want to celebrate, but are open to different ideas.

    I always view a birthday as a good reason to go out and have a nice dinner out. I mean, what's so harmless about that?

    Any holiday that is worthwhile should involve a lot of booze. Thanksgiving.....is great because of that Wednesday night. St. Patrick's Day is amazing because it basically focuses on getting hammered.

    Posted by Mikey "Insane" Monkeypants February 27, 09 01:07 PM
  1. You two are too much in love to require my uber-advice. You don't need a lawyer, or a counselor. No one is cheating...or having unsafe text. The kids are growing leaps and bounds, the dog is neutered and Thanksgiving is always on the 4th Thursday in November. Thanks be to God (and i am mixing my messiahs here) you don't need to figure out Tu B'Shevat (2/9 in 2009, but 1/30 in 2010) or Purim (3/10 in 2009, but 2/28 in 2010). Easter needs a calculator, but it fluctuates with the full moon (of course the Last Supper is a Seder...attached to the ever changing Passover). In other words, in a goyishe world you really don't have it so hard. In a technological world you are fortunate that your husband can go online, plug in the dates and greetings for all pertinent holidays and celebrations, and send an e-card to any and all of his loved ones for about 2 years. He's a champ: Your flowers are virtual, yet colorful and the kids get a greeting from their dad by their preferred method of communication - Cyber. He can even send a gift from the family laptop. Love the nebbish.

    Posted by valentino February 27, 09 01:35 PM
  1. You haven't said if you have talked to your husband about this and I think a nice, thoughtful conversation in which you both listen to each other is needed here. As others have said, many of these "holidays" are commercial and sort of meaningless. Are there any special events (because you're not just talking about holidays here) that you can agree to compromise on? Are there ways in which your husband expresses his feelings that aren't cards or gifts that maybe you need to recognize for what they are, even if they don't meet your standards or Hallmark's standards of how feelings should be expressed? Does your need for cards and gifts come from a genuine place inside you or from a worry that others will judge your relationship because you don't get thm?

    Posted by jenny February 27, 09 02:17 PM
  1. My fiancee is also not into holidays and birthdays (and I very much am!). I think most of it is the way he was raised - holidays and birthdays were not a huge deal in his family. He's uncomfortable receiving presents from others, and like a lot of guys, doesn't like having to go out and shop for gifts, especially if he's not exactly sure what I'd want. But, we still celebrate the big things, and over the years, he's gotten a little more used to it. He'll always be a little scrooge-like (IMO), but he can deal with it a few times a year. And we've compromised on certain holidays, like Valentines Day, which he feels strongly about not participating in, and I'm ok with that. Just make sure he knows what your expexctations are, so that you're not left without gifts and angry on your bday and holidays! Communicate and tell him what you want!!

    Posted by Alaine February 27, 09 04:40 PM
  1. Maybe it would be helpful to you to read The Five Love Languages by counselor Gary Chapman? Or perhaps it might be helpful just to reflect upon the five languages the author speaks of-- words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch?

    If your husband is "great in other ways," maybe he just doesn't speak the language of gifts. (I can undersand that. I don't speak that language either. I grew up in a home with too much "stuff" and try to limit what I acqure. I also dislike shopping and the feeling of pressure to buy something.) I agree with the suggestion to buy yoursef something--that's a good idea!

    Posted by Anonymous February 27, 09 09:03 PM
  1. It's always been interesting to me how intolerant people who are "gifties" are of people who are not.

    It's also interesting that the letter writer seems to define celebrating holidays as consisting solely of gift and card giving. Does the holiday not exist if a gift is not given?

    Posted by housekeeper February 28, 09 06:32 AM
  1. On further thought, wish I'd described "gifties" as baffled, rather than intolerant. A better description as well as less divisive, perhaps.

    Posted by housekeeper February 28, 09 06:59 AM
  1. As a guy I dont much like holidays myself. I think Christmas has become an orgy of over spending mixed in with stress that comes with finding the perfect gift. With that being said I dont let my issues with the holiday interfere with my kids holiday expereince or my spouses for that matter. So what if the holiday is man made? Life saving surgical procedures are "man-made" and thank god for that. Most occasions or holidays are there to make someone feel special, if only for a moment and whats wrong with that? Last Valentines day I had the kids and myself spread rose petals on the hallway floor, leading form my spouses bedroom all the way downstairs to the kitchen table where we had set up balloons and small inexpensive gifts for my spouse. The kids had fun setting it up, it taught them its important to make others feel special, and my spuose was so happy when she woke. Thanks Hallmark!

    Posted by Anonymous February 28, 09 07:57 AM
  1. Spend money is Merediths answer??? Buy a joint gift??? Meredith is not qualified to do this correctly. The root of the problem is not buying gifts and spending money to glaze over it. That is poor advice that could make you poor. That is about the same as saying have a child since you and your husband have issues and are fighting all the time and that will make it better. STUPID

    If you don't like it that he doesn't like holidays then why did you marry him? If it was a bait and switch thing then divorce him and move on to someone that is better for you. If it is you that was "ok" with it but are now changing your tune then do him a favor and get a divorce so he can be with someone that is better for him.

    Bottom line is that you need to sit down and figure out what it is you want and if he is the man for you right now. Don't wait till you "buy things", "Have children", etc...and have hours of "therapy". Do something for yourself and in turn for him and make your decision now rather than later when it is too late.

    Did you get married to him because it was the thing to do as the next step or because you really wanted to be married and he was the first to ask or you wanted a ring to show off???? What did/do you want and how do you get it? Sounds like you are the one with the problem, not his denial of celebrating holidays. Holidays don't make relationships....PEOPLE make them.

    Posted by RICO February 28, 09 10:24 AM
  1. Hubby is self-centered, lazy, inconsiderate and selfish.
    Self-centered because holidays are for sharing good times with others.
    Lazy because holidays are for giving gifts.
    Inconsiderate because he lets you know that he doesn't like holidays.
    Selfish because he'd rather do his own thing.
    I'd give him a change to clean up his act; if not I'd dump him. Life is too short to share it with a self-centered, lazy, inconsiderate and selfish jerk.

    Posted by Diane R February 28, 09 11:20 AM
  1. My guess is there is some baggage that he has with holidays and gifts so tread gently. The area of gifts is obviously emotionally charged. All you have to do is to read the comments above to see that. Maybe you should tell your husband you do not want gifts, you just want 10 minutes together to mark how special you are to one another. For me, heartfelt is much more important than expensive: a hand written note can be better than a bought card and the wholesale clubs like BJ's have the cheapest, prettiest and longest lasting flowers. That is where my husband gets me flowers, and I get the joy of keeping them longer than some expensive arrangement from a florist. We all have too much stuff, so in my house we focus on gifts without footprints - a bottle of wine to share, a few nice chocolates, flowers, rent the first movie we saw together... something special we can enjoy without huge expense or more junk floating around the house.

    PS. I blew up at my husband when, for my birthday I cooked, no one stopped what they were doing long enough to come to the table to eat, but instead took their food and left, and no one sang happy birthday to me and there was no cake. I did get gifts... big deal. I didn't need a lavish gift or anything, I just wanted 10 minutes for everyone to stop what they were doing and make me feel special. When their birthdays come along I let them choose the menu, cook a special dinner, buy and wrap gifts and bake a cake. I wanted at least a fraction of that for me. [My husband felt bad and came home the next night with a cake and everyone sang... it almost made up for the night before.]

    Posted by EandIsMom February 28, 09 03:57 PM
  1. The conversation with your husband might be nicer if you don't refer to him as "Scrooge-like" as #26 does ... this is a value judgment about holidays that will probably back your husband into a corner. Try to approach this by thinking that you may both have valid points of view.

    Posted by mrs. scrooge February 28, 09 04:13 PM
  1. Diane R shows exactly what is WRONG with people (not just women) today: most holidays are not for giving gifts. Traditionally most holidays were to celebrate and/or observe religious events, moments in history, or personal triumphs. Before Christmas was a friggin' commercial bonanza, it was a solemn religious occasion. Before Valentine's day was synonymous with candy and mediocre lingerie, it was a minor religious holiday.

    Amusingly, most of these are CHRISTIAN, aka white bread European holidays that have been corrupted into commercial ventures. The Jews had to sort of invent the commericality of Hannukah buecase they don't give out presents on any other of the big holidays. Unless you count the little prize for the afikomen. maybe if people weren't so shallow and grabby, holidays would be fun again.

    Posted by daigaku February 28, 09 05:34 PM
  1. Diane R, just wondering when the last time a man gave you the time of day? With an attitude like that, you don't deserve it.

    Posted by dave February 28, 09 07:41 PM
  1. One word: tightwad.

    Posted by reindeergirl February 28, 09 07:48 PM
  1. I don't buy my husband gifts for any holidays and he doesn't buy gifts for me either. We buy what we want when we want it so I see no reason to spend money on extra things just because it is Christmas, Valentine's Day, or whatever. I usually make a point to get a card and a cake for his birthday and I like him to do the same for me, for the kids' sake. They enjoy it and I think it is important that they see these little expressions of love without being over the top with extravagant gifts.

    Posted by giftless February 28, 09 08:00 PM
  1. What do I think of a spouse like that? I think he's got his head screwed on right and I applaud him for being clear on what his views are on the subject. The real question is, what should we think about a person like Red, who is either foolish enough to marry someone without spending a single holiday with them (which would have shown her what his behavior in this area is) or stupid enough to think that she can change another person to meet her own idea of how holidays should be celebrated. When will people learn that you can't change other people, just yourself.

    Tell me, would you really like to receive a gift that someone is giving you knowing that the only reason you are getting it is that you have successfully browbeaten him into giving it to you? Will that make it a special holiday for you?

    And #19, that is really pathetic to go out and secretly buy things so you can tell people that your husband gave you something. Grow a spine and tell people you don't celebrate made up holidays or that you as a couple choose not to participate in material exchanges.

    Posted by GK February 28, 09 08:18 PM
  1. I guess some people aren't happy unless they can "change" someone else and complain endlessly if they can't.

    Posted by nobody February 28, 09 08:32 PM
  1. I am a husband.

    I don't much care for all the gifts, cards, and excesses associated with all the holidays. None of these things represent love, and I don't consider fighting the mall crowds to be quality time.

    I'd rather sit down to a nice dinner with my family, then play a game of Monopoly or Rock Band with my kids.

    Posted by bill February 28, 09 09:22 PM
  1. I find the idea of special days to be blasphemous in that all days are equal creations. The existence of our universe requires all of its moments, and we shouldn't pick out some as having more importance than others. If we think our birthday is a special day, soon we'll be thinking that we are of special importance. All moments should be celebrated and celebrated equally. Your husband is right.

    Posted by Zenon H. W. Pylyshyn March 1, 09 01:19 AM
  1. I'm laughing at all the females that are crying about this... one more reason for men to not get married and end up tied down to some whining idiot that actually thinks ONE DAY in their relationship should be treated more special that each other day. You married him, didn't you know he was this way before? Or are you trying to "change" him (laugh)? Does he abuse you? Or cheat on you? Does he fail to provide for you and your family?? If not then get a grip and stop whining about your stupid holidays, you have it much better that many couples...

    Posted by sj March 1, 09 11:00 AM
  1. Everyone should be thoughtful and considerate of their spouse or 'significant other'.
    Getting all aggressive or whiny about doing something nice for someone else just means you're immature or selfish or both. That goes for both men and women.

    Posted by DR March 1, 09 08:40 PM
  1. Holidays and life cycle events break up the sameness of everyday life. They give us something to look forward to and a reason to get together with family and friends. They make us stop and think about those who are important to us, say "I care about you" and create traditions and memories to look back on and pass on to our children. There are many ways to celebrate and no one should abandon thoughtfulness because they hate malls. There are plenty of ways to acknowledge these events and the writer was hurt, not because she wasn't getting loot, but because her spouse ignores what could be fun and special times for them. Before my husband and I were married, our gifts to each other were often doing something special together. We discussed it in advance and saved up for a nice meal out or a getaway or cooked for each other. Those were the best. Sometimes he gave me presents, which were nice when he put some thought into them and were disappointments when it was obvious it was a last minute "guilt gift" bought on the way home (I was still outwardly thankful). After the babies arrived, he just stopped being thoughtful. Years went by with birthdays and holidays barely acknowledged by him while I made sure that he and the kids were always made to feel special. It was deeply hurtful to give so much of myself and receive nothing in return and it set a bad example for the kids. I felt that I had been put on the back burner in his life. Not wanting to be a nag or whiner or appear too needy, I kept it to myself. Slowly he's gotten better but it's not to where we once were. The writer needs to get to the root of her husband's aversion to holidays and explain to him that a person likes to be made to feel special once in a while. They could start with marking off two date nights on the calendar where they take turns planning a night out (or in) that they think the other would enjoy. Best of luck to her. I feel her pain.

    Posted by Cordelia March 4, 09 09:55 AM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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