Just Wondering About Division of Labor and Christmas Shopping

Updated on December 08, 2011
V.M. asks from Conneaut, OH
22 answers

Just wondering if alot of dad's insist on selecting and buying the christmas presents for the kids. Do you get a whole day and go out together? IF you do the shopping alone, does he look it over and express how great the items will be?
do the daddies ever look at age recommendations or do they want to buy chemsitry sets for 2 yos etc??

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So What Happened?

I forget the exact LIngo in the FIVE Love Languages, but my hubby is a GIft Giva. hard core, no one will know he loves them if he can't come up with the idea, physically pick it up, and pay full price for it. and OH the drama in the aisle of TRUs if I shoot down the idea of a razor scooter for a 1 2/2 yo. I"ve put off dealing with this so far this year but it's just getting too close to Christmas and i think this weekend we'll have to dance the dance all over again. I guess the grass is always greener.

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answers from Washington DC on

I have done the shopping more years or not and hubby gets to sit back and enjoy the kids smiles on Christmas morning. This year we did it together, and shocker we went WAY over budget. He always says I get them too much, but he keeps adding to the list. I finished up this morning on Amazon.com (YAY!!) for the most part, and I sent him the cart link before I bought it so he could see.

It's been really nice doing it with him, and even when he has said no to some items (Easy Bake Oven Ultimate) we have gotten them anyways. Last night we went through everything and realized what we still needed...and that's what we bought this morning.

And no, we don't look at age recommendations because all kids are different.



answers from San Francisco on

I do the shopping 100 %. I prefer it and it works for us really well. My husband will go and shop for extras and specific things he wants to get the kiddos on his own, but I do the needs/wants list for everyone. He will look at the items and does get excited about how the kids will love it etc. As far as age rec, not really--he knows what they can handle and we both aren't really concerned with the age limit.

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answers from Chicago on


You asked if alot of dads insist on selecting and buying the Christmas presents.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Wickerparkgirl - I wish I could send you an entire bouquet of flowers instead of just one!

Not that he's noticed, but I'm not really speaking to my husband today because I am, once again, cheesed off by his lack of xmas/birthday help. (Our son's birthday is 12/20.)

Today I asked him to drop off our adopt-a-family things on his lunch hour this friday. I purposely picked the drop-off location that is 2 blocks from his office. I will say that I had planned to do it myself but realized the times are only from 10-2. As we only have one car, I drive him 30 minutes to work 3 days a week, then back to take our son to preschool. On the other 2 days, he has the car. To have me do it would mean 30 minutes to work, 30 minutes back to school, 30 minutes back to the salvation army, 30 minutes back home. So instead, I said, "you have the car friday and it's the deadline, can you drop the stuff off at lunch?"

Him: "No, it's too much trouble."

Me: "..."

Him (rather huffily): "Fine, put the stuff in the car but I can't promise I can do it."

Me: "!"

So this is the ONE thing I asked him to do. He did not spend 4 HOURS researching all of the possible gifts for our son and looking for the best prices. Or contribute even a molecule of thought or assistance to the marathon of thinking of gifts for the rest of the family, driving to a zillion stores, scouring the internet for deals. How about not a passing glance to painstakingly creating the annual, personalized photo calendars for the grandparents, arranging holiday events, volunteering at the school's breakfast with santa and the museum's fairy princess tradition. He did not lift a finger when I was baking treats, selecting holiday crafts, finding an outfit for the preschool holiday program, looking up where to drop off our toys for tots things, wrapping gifts or finding out about the family we adopted. And most of the time, I'm the one that remembers to move the elf each night.

Oh yeah, and the birthday is BEFORE xmas. Who purchased the gifts? Researched endless party options to find one that fit our dates, size and budget (that only I seem to know how to implement)? Created the guest list, found, filled out and mailed the invitations? Agonized over the goody bags? Is freaking out because we can't find the cake our son wants? Me. ME! Me.

In some ways, I'd like to be my husband. The mysteries of xmas (and birthdays) are still there because he is just as surprised as our soon-to-be 4 year old is when the presents are unwrapped and the party kicks off.

If you made it this far in my rant, thanks for listening and have a great holiday no matter who does the work!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You must be joking. My husband would rather fight a pack of wild dogs with both hands tied behind his back than go Christmas shopping. And then when I get home with the presents (because I am, after all, the captain of the varsity shopping team), I don't even bother showing him. Honestly, he doesn't care. Does. Not. Care. I have to tell the kids what to get me for Christmas, and then make them browbeat their dad into taking them shopping. Thank god my 9 year old has good taste, and knows where I like to buy things.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

What division of labor???
I pretty much do it all. We discuss a general list of items (especially the "big" stuff) but it pretty much all falls on me to get it bought and get it home, oh and to get it wrapped and under the tree (or hidden) too. His part of it is coming up with difficult to find items and supplying the $ to pay for it, lol.

And no, he has no real awareness of the difficulties and stress involved in taking care of it all. He sometimes gets a little bit bent out of shape because "he hasn't gotten to do any shopping and everything is bought already"... so we'll take an afternoon or after church on Sunday and hit the stores. He is fed up within about 2 hours and DONE. That's about how it goes every year.... So again, I say, "What division of labor"? I'd say it is about the same as when the children were birthed into this world. He provided what was necessary for me to do all the work while he stood back and waited for me to finish. LOL

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answers from Kansas City on

We've had had similar issues in the past. Mostly because my husband has an opinion on EVERYTHING (for our wedding he had an opinion on the bridesmaids dresses).

In years past we went together...that is a cluster you know what I NEVER will do again.

This year we sat down, decided on an amount per child. Then I had the kids go through the ads circle or mark the items they would like to put on their list. Then he and I sat down and agreed upon which ones we are ok with. No fuss in the store (only at home), but it was so pleasant and now I can go out without him in full confidence that I am getting what he agreed to.

I scored Just Dance 3 for the Wii last night for $30...I am so happy!

ETA: We just use general common sense about our kids, when purchasing them toys, games, movies. Don't always look at the age reccomendations. Our kids never cared a whole lot for the under 2 toys so we tended to go older.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

it is very rare for my DH to join me on the shopping expedition....but he does enjoy participating in creating the shopping list. I usually have a "pre-list" of ideas & then we fine-tune it together. Occasionally, he'll surprise me & think totally outside of the box....which is great.

90% of the shopping is accomplished with my mom &/or my sister. We take the kids & have a BLAST! We're excellent about splitting up & hiding the purchases from the kids... while the others are with Santa, getting treats, etc. The kids in our family all have wonderfully goofy memories of our shopping trips...wearing reindeer antlers/light-up noses, Santa hats, jingle bells on our shoes (drove my Mom nuts!), acting like mannequins in store windows....making all of the passersby laugh hysterically. . . .& the memories go on & on.

Thanks for bringing back these special moments.....:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I just did all the shopping for DD - and everyone else - mostly because I am just better at it. And that's pretty much how our division of labor for everything goes (not just Christmas but in general) - whomever is better at it gets the job. I know what DD wants, I know what will appeal to her, and DH just doesn't have it in him to have a clue as to what to get anyone. If I gave him a list of specifics to get at a store, he could manage that, but then he would also argue that we could get stuff cheaper at the dollar store, or that we don't need to get presents for nieces, nephews, neighbor's kids who are friends with our kid, etc. So I get what I want to get, and he thinks I go overboard.

On the other hand, he is awesome at wrapping! So he gets to wrap all the things I buy! ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

The only person I do not do all of the shopping for in myself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

We are a Shopping Team Machine!
I hate shopping, as in going to actual physical stores, especially the mall. I really do not like doing it alone even more. We do so much of our shopping online (Amazon loves us! LOL) So much of the types of things we like to get people are a little off the beaten path and we have never gone wrong. We like to get the types of things you can't just walk into Target and throw in your cart last minute and ends up getting returned.
I will send my husband out for special things for the kids after we agree on them if they are hard to sneak in under the guise of having a meeting to go to though *shhh* they don't suspect anything yet ;)



answers from Tulsa on

He once bought us matching necklaces(we wear no jewelry, but we wear this for him). He also bought her a cute bear with flowers on a holiday.
Other than that, I buy and we take credit.



answers from Kansas City on

My husband is helpful with our 3 boys (6, 3, 1) and his dad. He's good at "boy" things. He goes to lego.com and such to pick out ideas for the boys. I usually have to help him NOT overspend! He also likes shopping for me--as long as it is jewelry or victoria's secret. I usually take care of extended family.



answers from Honolulu on

My Hubby: likes to choose some things, for the kids, himself.
He does know, age parameters and per our kids' abilities/interests. That is what he goes by.
Me: I also choose and buy things for the kids... what they would like or what I know they need. Its fine with Hubby.
He knows, I am a good shopper per prices and what our kids like, and per their ages.

So, we both, shop I guess. When we each have time, per our schedules. But not necessarily doing it together for an entire day.
No nit-picking. But we have a budget.
He likes what I buy. I like what he buys.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My husband always gos and picks up stuff--especially like sports equipment, electronics, etc.

Ideally, I would like to do a joint Christmas shopping day, but it never seems to work out that way. 99% of the time we "divide and conquer"!



answers from Chicago on

Insist? No. But he's willing to help. Usually I make a list of ideas and we talk about them. He has suggestions (like which specific Thomas train our son would like most). Then I buy what I can online. I'll probably ask him to run out alone and buy stocking stuffers b/c he likes doing that. He might even take the kids out individually to buy small gifts for one another. Depends on his travel schedule at work. If there are any stray gifts that need to be picked up, we'll make one trip to Toys R Us together. It helps that my parents live in town and can watch our kids for a few hours.


answers from Dallas on

My husband likes to have input. We usually spend a weekend and call it "Date Weekend" (it was last weekend). My parents keep the kids all weekend. We went out to eat at our favorite restaurant for dinner on Saturday night after my husband got off of work and then met friends for drinks afterwards. The next morning we got up and spent the whole day finishing up our Christmas shopping. It was fun, and we accomplished our goal! :) We do this each year.



answers from Albuquerque on

I do all the Christmas shopping in our family (except for presents for me, of course). I'm sure my husband could do it if he had the inclination - he certainly knows what age appropriate toys are. But I like to shop and he doesn't, so we're happy with the arrangement. I do talk to him beforehand about what I'm planning to buy and he usually has a few very good suggestions.



answers from New York on

Seriously, when our kids were little my husband liked to help me pick out stuff, initially we shopped together and sometimes he just showed me ideas on fliers and I did the shopping. But about 5 years ago he left his job, went back to school and for two years was in school full time plus working full time. So then I really had to do it all, and since then he throws out ideas from fliers still, but I do all the shopping. I make sure I show him everything though and I make him help with all the wrapping.



answers from Lafayette on

I do it all. period. always have.


answers from Santa Fe on

My husband is the opposite. He does not want to spend the time thinking about gifts and if I were not around he would just order things on Amazon a few days before Christmas and then people would get a little piece of paper telling them what they were getting. He just passively lets me get all the gifts. This is the same way his dad is/was as he was growing up. His mom told me she just had to let it go and not be mad that her husband never once helped with gifts. Anyway, my husband is a sweet guy and does like to get gifts for people but he is so busy with work/family and does not make time for this. He is very thankful that I make lists and figure out what people want and take care of it. I'm glad he is thankful and appreciates this.



answers from New York on

I've always been in charge of buying holiday gifts for our kids, for the most part. I rarely shop in stores, most of my shopping is done online. Hubby will pick up a couple of things for them on his own, plus some things for their stockings and he is always in charge of buying them each an ornament every year.
Dh is in charge of any gifts that he needs to buy for his side of the family, his coworkers, etc

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