Ask Amy: Husband Has Lacking Holiday Efforts

By Amy Dickinson | June 7th, 2021

Are his efforts too low, or are her expectations too high?


Husband making no holiday efforts Image

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been together for four years. We had our first child last year, so this Mother’s Day was my first official Mother’s Day.

He did nothing to make it a special day for me, except for offering a half-assed “Oh yeah, Happy Mother’s Day.”

My husband has a thing about celebrating holidays.

He almost never acknowledges me on holidays through gift-giving or through making me feel loved or special.

Our first Christmas together: nothing.

On my birthdays: nothing.

Valentine’s Day, sometimes he’ll bring home flowers or something, and I’m always so appreciative when he does.

He’ll buy me things randomly throughout the year, so it’s not like he never gets me gifts, but holidays are often ignored on his end, even though I spoil him.

I’m very easy to please. I just want to feel that he’s thinking of me.

Am I being ridiculous or selfish for wanting to feel acknowledged on these holidays?

I feel like if I have to ask for it, it’s not genuine.

I hate talking about it because it just makes me feel ungrateful because it’s not like I really want for anything.

– Not Worth Celebrating


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Dear Not Worth: People adopt their holiday attitudes and habits from what they experience in childhood. And many children witness tension, unhappiness, dissatisfaction. overindulgence, and anger.

You could help by NOT referring to your husband’s Mother’s Day greeting as “half-assed.”

To me, his greeting sounds like a start. He remembered!

Surely, he has picked up on how let down you feel.

He can now add Mother’s Day to the long list of holidays that he can’t manage to do right.

You two should talk about this! Ask him about the special event celebrations or traditions in his childhood.

You might learn that your husband associates these holidays as big-ticket opportunities to fail in a big way.

You should also try to establish gift-giving traditions that are scaled down and shared.

Father’s Day is around the corner. Bring his breakfast to him on a tray with a homemade card from you and your baby. And that’s it. Don’t overwhelm him with gifts and clever ideas pulled off of Pinterest.

You want to demonstrate how easy it can be to celebrate another person’s very existence, as well as convey your gratitude for their presence in your life.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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