Christmas brings to many of us happy childhood memories of time spent with family and friends, Christmas gifts and winter vacation. Winter would probably be difficult to bear if we did not have Christmas to look forward to with all the additional stuff that makes this time of the year extra merry and jolly. Christmas is the perfect time to eat, shop, think about family, remember the past, make New Year’s resolutions, share time with those we love, drink Christmas beer, mumble Christmas songs, decorate the home and behave like kids.
Lights and Christmas decorations, classic Christmas songs, gingerbread cookies and the good old Santa dressed in his classic red and white suit are all essential during this time of the year. Here in Iceland, children have a lot to look forward to during the holidays, with the Icelandic Santas bringing them presents for 13 consecutive nights including Christmas night. But let’s face it, Christmas is not a jolly time for everyone and for some it can be quite stressful and even dreadful so here are a few tips to make this time of the year a bit more bearable:
Make it simple, you don’t need a Christmas tree and just a few Christmas lights can be enough to get your home ready for the holidays.
Enjoy the food; remember that this is a once a year event and smoked lamb is really not that bad.
Try all the different Christmas beers; some of them can be quite good.
Shop early and avoid the Christmas rush.
Don’t spend too much; candles and playing cards are considered traditional Icelandic Christmas presents.
Be creative; this is the perfect time to show off how creative you are by making Christmas cards and presents yourself.
Enjoy the free time from work.
And last but not least, give yourself a present; and if you don’t like presents, you can donate to a charity.
But enough of Christmas, here are your dilemmas and my answers to them.
My boyfriend does not do anything at home and this is really getting on my nerves. We have been together for four years and he has NEVER washed his clothes and has once cleaned the toilet. My dilemma is… Is he just plain lazy, or is this just a guy thing?
Well, you sound upset, and I guess it is understandable considering the time and effort involved in taking care of a home. Very few men are raised to be fully responsible for household chores, and many men consciously or unconsciously look at housework as “women’s work”. Current research has sadly shown that on average, girls spend more hours each week doing housework than boys and that boys are more likely to be paid for their work than girls. This data are quite upsetting considering the fact that we women work as hard outside the home as men do. So the fact that he does not do housework does not necessarily mean that he is lazy, but just a guy. On the other hand, most men will readily do some garden work, wash and maintain the household car and make repairs around the home. To them, these projects count as much as housework and are more stereotypical “men’s work.”
As with every couple’s dispute, communication is an important step in solving conflict. Firstly, you need to tell your man how you feel; and secondly, he might need encouragement to become more involved at home. You can start by telling him how his inactivity troubles you and how pleased you would be if he did more housework. Next, you can make a schedule together and divide between the two of you the different housework that needs to be done. One important thing to have in mind is to try not to put down or criticise your man for the mistakes he does or for what he fails to do. Rather praise him for what he does well, and build on that.
One last thing, if this advice does not work, stop washing his socks and underwear and see what happens.
Need some help solving your dilemmas? Ask Paola by sending your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org