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Have yourself a gendered little Christmas: Holiday Meal Prep
Some of my most favorite holiday memories involve sharing meals with my loved ones. I love everything about it—smelling good things, tasting favorite family recipes, bright holiday decorations, and so much joyful laughter (sprinkled with realistic, nagging, teasing sibling exchanges). My love for holiday meal times makes it even more troubling to realize how unfair these family events can be.
Ever since hosting my very first holiday gathering, I’ve become acutely aware of how much work goes into it. It takes a whole lot of time, energy and expense to accomplish the perfect holiday gathering. More often than not, I’ve noticed that it’s women in families who get it done.
Even in my own family, my superstar mama is clearly working overtime to make everything happen. She gets up early on the day of, after prepping for days ahead of time, and is the first up from the table to start doing dishes after the meal is complete.
While my dad is an accomplished veggie chopper who always helps with prep work, and my brother is diving into the wonderful world of pie baking this year, it still seems like there are some major expectations for who is primarily responsible for domestic goddess-like activities.
Globally, women tend to put virtually all of their earnings from outside the home back into caring for the family in some way. I’m guessing that this doesn’t really change when holidays roll around. Beyond that, if we added up the amount of time spent preparing for holiday meals and assigned a dollar value to it, how much do you think the typical North American woman would make compared to the typical man?
Do you find that women’s work is highly valued in your own families? Are you part of a non-traditional family set up that breaks out of the gender-binary holiday mold? I would love to hear about ways that you’ve found to make the holidays happy, healthy, and equal for all.