Relationship Connection: My husband is a Scrooge

Jared Davis as Ebenezer Scrooge in the performance of Scrooge at the Dickens’ Christmas Festival, St. George, Utah, Nov. 30, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News


My husband hates Christmas. He grew up in a poor family where they always had their gifts provided by neighbors and their church. He feels like everyone always felt sorry for his family. We struggle financially, so he gets angry around this time of year and says that he hates that Christmas is only about buying gifts. We still don’t have a Christmas tree up, he complains about presents for the kids, and it’s pretty touchy to even go to our kids’ Christmas events. I don’t want our kids’ memories of Christmas ruined by their dad’s bad experiences with Christmas as a kid. It’s not fair to them. But, I can’t bring it up or we’ll get in a fight. What do you suggest?


Your husband’s poverty-stricken childhood doesn’t have to continue to haunt your current Christmas activities. It’s time for you guys to have a conversation about how to reclaim Christmas for your family, regardless of what he went through.

In order to do this successfully, you’ll need to be open to the possibility of having to give up some of your favorite Christmas traditions. He needs to know you don’t have some script for Christmas that leaves out his ideas. Approach him to let him know you’re completely willing to start new traditions for your own family and see where that goes.

Don’t go behind his back and secretly give your kids a Christmas experience. This undermines your relationship with him and your children’s relationship with him. Let him know that he’s more important than a holiday and you want to work together to find common ground that helps you both enjoy the holidays with your family.

There is no law that states every family should have a Christmas tree or give gifts to their kids. Granted, the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas this way, but I also know of many families who have found other ways to make this time of year meaningful for their families.

If you’ve spent years pushing your traditions as absolutes that must be a part of Christmas, then this most likely makes it impossible for him to suggest any alternatives. He probably believes that it’s heresy to suggest your family do something other than the traditional activities typically associated with Christmas.

Most couples have to navigate this terrain when they first get married, as they each come from backgrounds with different traditions. This is the same discussion, except that the pressure isn’t just coming from different family beliefs, but from the larger culture, which tells us how to celebrate this time of year. If those traditions work for your family, embrace them. If you have ones that work better for your family, go with those.

Chances are, you have strong feelings about things in your life that you hope your husband will take seriously. Your kids will benefit more from a unified marriage than from candy canes and stuffed stockings.

Stay connected!


Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @geoffsteurer


Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Jared Davis as Ebenezer Scrooge in the performance of Scrooge at the Dickens’ Christmas Festival, St. George, Utah, Nov. 30, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Jared Davis as Ebenezer Scrooge in the performance of Scrooge at the Dickens’ Christmas Festival, St. George, Utah, Nov. 30, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

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  • rhoda December 18, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Is he still paying off your booby job? That’s an expensive procedure that could put the checking account in the red.

    • chupacabra December 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

      What an insane comment Rhoda. Your shallowness of thought is shining for all to see…

  • Ashley December 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Rhoda, what does a boob job have to do with the fact that he dosn’t like Christmas or anything related to Christmas?! I have a boob job and my husband dosn’t hate Christmas because of it! I’m confused by your comment!

    • Rhoda December 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      It’s my opinion these shallow, image-oriented women and their boob jobs around here have extremely materialistic values. So do a lot of the guys. Okay, paint this picture of a couple where after he spent a fortune on her boob job, cause she’s shallow, how much does she demand he spend on her birthday, valentines day, christmas, mothers day and every other day so she can show her equally materialistic fake boobed friends all the material crap he bought for her? Not only does she have expensive tastes, so does he with his guns and trucks. Maybe he hates buying her stuff cause he wants to buy himself stuff. Then their self-centered bratty kids need to have their material crap to keep up with material crap bought for the kids by the other materialistic faked boobed mommies and monster truck driving gun toting daddies. It’s no wonder so many couples in Utah file for bankruptcy and go on welfare. Every cent is spent on image items. Like I said, that’s my opinion. How many couples you know like that?

    • ActionNowBoobPlasty December 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Who the … actually admits to having a boob job on the Internet like it’s a debate topic? Boob jobs in St. George generally consists of some aging minge who does their grocery shopping in $100 spandex sportswear. Yes, we all know you need to show off and fluff how trivially in shape you are with your fake ….
      Ed. ellipses.

      • Rhoda December 19, 2013 at 8:13 am

        A lot of women here admit to getting boob jobs. It seems like a competition between them. Some, in order to show them off, go as far as inviting others to cop a feel. Now that’s icky, a woman wanting other women to squeeze her breasts!

    • Silicone Injections December 19, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Fake boob jobs are not the ideal CMas gift. Got them for the now ex, and every Cmas, I think about the money wasted on her fake boobs. Of course she got half of everything I owned and then some, but I didn’t get half those fake boobs in the settlement even though I paid for them. Oh well, at least I’m not celebrating CMas with some petty, shallow wench whose personality is as fake as her boobs.

  • JoJo December 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I thought we were poor because we constantly were told to turn off lights, turn down the heat, don’t use this don’t waste that and we can’t afford this and can’t afford that. I think we would have been less poor if so much money wasn’t thrown at the church for every collection and every church thing that demanded more money. The lesson I learned was the church can make you poor.

  • Glock December 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Fake breasts aside (seriously, how did that even get implied as a reason), I have some advise as well. I too grew up in a poor family where Christmas wasn’t looked forward to. I have personally experienced a Welfare Christmas, where the only thing given was white elephant and hand-me-down. It is not a happy memory. Geoff Steurer (the columnist) is right on the money when he says communication.

    I have only been married for 9 years so I’m no expert but you have to talk about it. Its 50/50. My wife and I have spoken several times over the years about holidays in general. I quite honestly could do without them entirely, but I respect she does want to celebrate them. I also want my children to have good memories and not be darkened by my own selfish prejudices. So give and take, accept that he likely does not want massive gatherings, with tons of extravagance and over indulgence. Be mindful that its difficult for him. Its hard for me so I can easily see his point of view. Simplicity and modesty is beautiful.

    Ask yourself WHY you celebrate Christmas. Is it you are Christian and want to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Do you feel its a time to celebrate the end of a year, and want to include the magic of Santa Claus. Is it you are peer pressured into “holiday cheer”. Do you celebrate it because everyone else does or because “its just what you do”. Take a good look at the reason WHY, and ask your husband the same question. Focus in on the why, and elaborate on that. If the reason is you are celebrating the birth of Jesus, its very easy to see the symbols of the holiday. As a family talk about those reasons and reach outside of yourselves to celebrate it with others.

    Its easy to just blame your husband, call him a scrooge and say its all his fault he is ruining Christmas for your family. But it is not that simple. If hes anything like me he has years and years of negative memories to overcome and work through. Be mindful of his feelings too. Its obvious he does not want to be coddled or the recipient of charity, so don’t. Find common ground and build on it. Make new memories.

  • zacii December 19, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Christmas is so overrated. It’s become a commercial joke and has nothing to do with Christ anymore.

    Traditional Christmas puts a lot of unnecessary financial pressure on people.

    I say bah humbug to the whole thing, too.

    • JoJo December 19, 2013 at 9:57 am

      I feel the same about church, overrated, a bunch of lies, smoke and mirrors to get your money. Look at the filthy rich lifestyles your church leadership lives while telling you money isn’t important.

  • Married a Scrooge too..... December 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Even though this story is probably hypothetical, I think this (mostly) inane crowd has missed the point. Having dissension in the home at Christmas time is not fun. I was stunned out of my mind when my husband acted that way, the first year of our marriage. I was raised in a family of big Christmas’s, where people cherished childhood ornaments and spent days seeking out that perfect gift. It was never about the money involved, just the joy in doing something special for one another. But, although I remembered to honor his clan and made his mom and family a priority, he didn’t include me in gifts at all; not for any occasion. The second year we were married, my young child re-wrapped a toy and gave it to me, so I wouldn’t be left out of Christmas. That was the final straw. I told my husband that I was unwilling to raise my child to be a feckless fool, just because he (husband) had anger issues about Christmas and other gifting dates Even if he didn’t care, he had to play the game, no options. It worked. He knows that it’s not about $$, it’s about being included, feeling remembered. Being excluded on Christmas, Mother’s Day, my birthday, our anniversary, created new wounds in me. To be excluded was painful. I felt that I wasn’t remembered and I didn’t matter enough to spend the time finding something I needed to have…I resented it. It was a battle for years but I made sure it was between us and no one else. Last year, he finally said that he was going to stay quiet and stop stressing over what I was going to do anyway.If the scenario presented is real, I’d tell her to avoid buying him anything and ‘out him’ to the rest of the world when others ask why you don’t have decorations up or do even inexpensive gifts…he’s not being thrifty, he’s making his family pay for old anger issues.

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