5 Steps to Make Your Husband Your Elf


how to get your husband to help

Don’t you envy Santa? Sure, he has a long to-do list in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but he also has an army of cheerful helpers in pointy shoes. Where can a busy mom find one of those? The answer may be right under your nose! If given a little direction, good ol’ Dad can pitch in to help you accomplish some major holiday tasks. For single moms, Grandpa or a favorite uncle can help in all the same ways.

So here’s how to get your husband to help. Or, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, here are 5 steps to make your husband your elf.

1. Ask nicely.

This may seem obvious, but if you wait until you’re behind and completely stressed out, your plea for help may come out more like a bossy or hysterical demand, rather than a polite request for help. Talk strategy with Dad before crunch time while things are still slow, and plan for the days when you know you’ll need back up. (For instance: “I need to bake for our neighbors this Saturday morning, can you help with the kids then?”)

2. Be specific.

He’s a great elf, but he’s not a mind reader. Tell him what would be helpful in the most detailed terms possible. If you’re asking him to take the kids out while you tackle some decorating or wrapping, give him a couple of suggestions on how to entertain them. If you need him to make a grocery run for you, make the list more detailed (including brand names and product sizes) than you do for yourself.

3. Understand that his way may be different than yours.

And that’s okay! This is not the time to indulge your Type-A tendencies. Even if Dad makes a mess of something, acknowledge and appreciate that he was trying to help. Elves tend to lose motivation when they can’t seem to do anything right.

4. Divide and conquer.

Divide the to-do list according to your strengths. Dad may not be comfortable making a casserole and you probably don’t want to put a bicycle together. We’re all more efficient and confident when working within our comfort zones. So work smarter, not harder.

5. Don’t forget to say thank you.

You might even plan a special treat for the world’s best elf to show him how much you appreciate his help. Cook his favorite dinner or carve out some time to let him go pursue his favorite holiday activity (which probably requires golf clubs or hunting gear). This can up the chances that he’ll reapply for the position next year! (And in case you’re wondering, here’s the secret to making your husband happy.)

Ideas for making use of Dad’s help:

  • Let him take the kids out while you tackle tasks at home.
  • Let him put together all those “assembly-required” toys—before Christmas Eve.
  • Make the treats for friends and neighbors and let Dad and the kids deliver.
  • Let Dad remove and replace all the containers of decorations from the attic.
  • Trade off a couple of your usual errands that he can handle on the way home from work (i.e. dry cleaning, post office, etc.).
  • While you have family and/or friends as holiday houseguests, coordinate times for Dad to take everyone for an outing while you tidy up and cover meal preparations.
  • Address the Christmas cards and let Dad and the kids stuff, seal, and stamp.

What do you have your husband help you with during the holidays?