He’s She’s making a list Google doc and checking it twice hourly to make sure no Christmas detail falls through the cracks. Hey, it’s all in a day’s work for Mama Claus, who works overtime during the holidays to ensure the gifts are bought, the cards are sent, the tree is trimmed and the children don’t have yule log on their face when it’s time to take the Santa photo.
Jokes aside, if we dig deep and consider the lop-sided workload that falls to women between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it’s kinda…messed up. Not sure what we mean? Think of the orchestration of teacher presents, the purchasing (and wrapping) of gifts, the assigning of even more gifts to the grandparents, the holiday PJs that—poof—arrive at your front door just in time for the family photos. No offense to the dads, but this meme delivers a far-too-accurate summation. More often than not, everyone else in the fam simply has to show up.
So, what gives? Why is it 2023 and we’re still living in a world where Mama Claus has to exclusively take the reigns? “The holiday workload falling on women is still rooted in traditional gender norms relating to moms being responsible for the children and the household,” Erin Pash, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says. “To be fair, it also usually goes hand in hand with women’s innate capacity to get sh** done.”
In other words, women are typically the planners and subsequently the worriers, according to Pash. This contributes to why they feel the need to take on the extra burden—and handle oh so many logistics—usually because their counterpart is not quite wired to think about things in the same way. “One of the best ways to counter this is to change our thought process and behavior by looking at each other’s strengths when it comes to how parents can work together to divide and conquer both holiday joys and stressors,” Pash says.