No longer celebrating Christmas.

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
594 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

This is the point where you say to him that his side of the family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, your side of the family still does. You can respect his family’s wishes and he should respect yours. 

Post # 3
10454 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

It sounds like he needs to deal with this in a healthier way.  His family still celebrates Christmas, I would start by pointing that out, and that it’s ok for the various families to do it differently.  Most families do!

Why doesn’t he want to exchange gifts between the 2 of you?  Have you asked him?

Post # 5
137 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

He can’t expect you to stop, because his family stopped. You need to tell him that your family still does and you do too. 

Post # 7
1287 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

authentic:  Ok, first, I am so sorry you have to navigate this at all.  You are definitely in a tougher spot, because it sounds as if their feelings are coming from grief, and grief is extremely delicate and difficult.  There is no right or wrong way to navigate grief.  

From someone whom lost a parent (my mom), and more so (not that it matters) seemed to be dealt a lot of difficulty around the holidays: she was diagnosed on 12/23 one year, passed away on 12/12 a few  years later, and was buried on 12/17 – I think the holiday spirit is MOST important now more than ever.  I appreciate the holiday season, even if it is time I grieve the most.  However, Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday.  She loved everything about it, from sharing time with family and friends, to decking the halls, to gift giving.  For my sisters and I to not celebrate the holidays, we would feel as if we are not celebrating her spirit, so for the past 3 years we have really gone above and beyond.  And although there are moments of tears and sadness, that will never go away, we celebrate Christmas!!

That is US though, and that is how we choose to celebrate her life.  Not everyone can or will be able to do the same things, and the holidays bring a lot more light to those that cannot be with us.  It seems to be a time where they are missed so much, which is why it can be easier to not celebrate at all.  I think, for you, supporting that decision (like you are) is important.  For him, compromising and understanding your need to celebrate is key too.  

Do not stop Christmas because he is not in the spirit.  Trim your tree, shop for gifts (including for him too), etc.  Give him the option to participate, etc.  I think – over time – he will come around, and at least try to pretend he is spirited.  OR, at the very least, understand that although his family has stopped celebrating, others have not, and where you respect his hardships, he should try to respect your Christmas celebrations…but, that will take some time.

Good luck!

Post # 8
3438 posts
Sugar bee

authentic:  I would say while it is very saddening that his father died, and his mother no longer wants to continue that tradition, that it doesn’t mean he has to stop gift giving.  When I first met my husband, he didn’t do the whole gift giving process.  As someone who had grown up with this, you can imagine how I felt when he said this.  We eventually did start the tradition of us gift giving becuase the idea of it was important to me.

I would explain to your husband that Christmas is not only about gift giving, but the idea of love and happiness, and continually bringing up the “We don’t do Christmas” isn’t going to help him move on. It’s not wrong of him to want or to try to move on from his father’s death.  It sounds like he really hasn’t though. 

Post # 9
1987 posts
Buzzing bee

I know exactly how you feel. My husband doesn’t celebrate Christmas. His family did not really celebrate I think after they moved here from Vietnam. And his father passed away during the holidays, so he really associates the holidays with his father’s passing. He still comes with me to spend Christmas with my family because he knows that’s important to me but otherwise he hates the holiday season. It’s my favorite but I feel guilty decorating and putting up a tree when he doesn’t really want it. I also had my first miscarriage the day after Christmas, which is another reason he doesn’t want to be reminded of it. It’s a very tense time of the year, and I definitely empathize with you. Maybe his mother will heal a bit and change her mind. Until then, I really hope the two of you can celebrate together and maybe take a moment to remember his father.  Hopefully you two will find a middle ground where both of you can feel comfortable about celebrating in whatever way is best for you. 

Post # 10
2493 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

What Trinisexy2 said. 

And it’s okay to extend the invitation for him to join you and your family for Christmas; he can decline. You can also tell him that you understand if he would like to be home with his mother, but that you still wanted to to let him know his presence would be appreciated. It’s also okay to give him a gift, so long as you tread lightly–ie, probably not something big and expensive, but rather something more simple, like baking him his favorite pie or buying him a six-pack of his favorite beer or asking him out to go on a bike ride. 

With grief, you really just let everyone handle it on their own time, and the best you can do is let them know you care, be sensitive when appropriate but generally live as you would normally would, and keep the door open for them. 

Post # 13
579 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

authentic:  I feel really bad for your H. Doesn’t he realize that people lose family all the time? It doesn’t mean you stop all happiness forever. I’m sure his dad wouldn’t be happy with everyone wallowing and depressed. So like, are your kids never having a Christmas because his dad died?

My FIs mom passed this past April. We’re not sure what we should be doing, or carrying on, but we know my MIL would be PISSED if we didn’t at least try to be happy. We’ll have breakfast at her house (with FFIL), with everyone, then open presents, and who knows what else. But, we’ll be making the best of it.

I think your H needs counseling. This reaction is not normal.

Post # 14
2394 posts
Buzzing bee

authentic:  My advice would be to take things slow and easy with him.

It may take several years for him to warm up to the idea.

If Christmas was a part of his past, he will probably come around again at some point.

He is in a tough place if his mother is saying she doesn’t want Christmas. He is probably torn between missing his dad and wanting to honor his mother’s wishes.

We are in a somewhat similar situation as my MIL died about a month ago, and this will be DH’s first Christmas without his mom. He is fragile right now and we are taking things slow and easy. We will not be partying it up this Christmas, but we’re doing things more low-key.

He told me that years ago when his father died, his mother also decided not to have Christmas anymore. She got rid of a lot of their Christmas ornaments and my DH is still upset about it. However, over the course of time they gradually began celebrating Christmas again — just never to the degree when his father was alive. They never had a big tree again until DH and I got married and I said I wanted a tree. I think at the time he had mixed feelings about having a tree again. But every year, he has enjoyed it a little bit more and more. This Christmas season will be our fifth year together as a couple, and our third wedding anniversary. So it wasn’t something that happened overnight.

In addition, my own mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer at Thanksgiving 22 years ago, and she died not long after that. I was extremely close to my mother, and losing her was hands down the most painful experience of my life. For years and years and YEARS, Thanksgiving was a sad and depressing time for me. But eventually I put those sad memories aside and focused on making new ones. 

Best wishes to you. Be patient with your SO. This is an issue that may take years for him to resolve and come to terms with. In the end, what he will remember is how patient and loving you were with him when he was hurting the most. I understand it can be frustrating when you want to take part in all the little traditions that have meant so much over the years — especially to celebrate them with your SO, whom you love so much. But — think of your patience as a gift, a very special Christmas gift from the heart. Just be patient and wait. Do celebrate with your family, as PPs explained. But take care not to pressure your SO to join in. I am betting that with time, he will want to join in, too. 

Post # 15
2394 posts
Buzzing bee

authentic:  unfortunately I can’t get him to go talk to someone. I know I can’t force him, but does anyone have any suggestions for that?


I just saw this response you posted.

I did seek counseling after my mother died, and my therapist discussed an extremely important book with me, a book that is a landmark in the field of grief therapy. “On Death and Dying” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I got the book and it helped me immensely in understanding the stages of grief. I highly recommend you check it out. Putting aside the issue of Christmas, this book would help you to understand and in turn help your SO. The death of a parent often throws off the surviving child’s equilibrium. The months and years following the death can be an emotional rollercoaster.


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