I don’t know for sure what holidays are like at your house, but if they resemble holidays at my house, and most houses in the US, women do almost all of the holiday preparation: decorating, gift buying and wrapping, invitations, neighborhood and church activities, cooking, cooking, more cooking, and cleaning.
Holidays are moments in the year when women, specifically, have extra responsibilities. I distinctly remember my own beloved stepmother telling me — stress making her voice taut — that she just wanted everyone to have a nice Thanksgiving. She would work herself silly to do and have all the right things so that everyone else would have a good time. Multiple this by 10 at Christmas.
This Bed, Bath, & Beyond ad, sent in by Jessica E. and Jessica S., reminded me of the crazy workload that accompanies holidays for women:
Alone with the responsibility of making a holiday for everyone else, the woman manages to mobilize technology and goods from BB&B to make it happen. Ironically, the text reads: “When you need a hand with holiday entertaining,” but actual human help in the form of hands is absent. Apparently it’s easier for women to grow five extra arms than it is to get kids and adult men to pitch in.
Anyhoo, be a peach and give your mom a hand this holiday season.
Originally published in 2009.
Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.