Confession: As I sit here typing on December 4, our tree stands naked in the living room, waiting to be decorated, our Elf on the Shelf is still in the box, and I have yet to read one Advent devotional to my children. My plans for homemade hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows fell prey to the convenience of Swiss Miss and Jet Puffed. Does this time of year bring out the mommy guilt over the “should be doings” in anyone else?
The pressures that come during the Christmas season can seem overwhelming.
Decorate the house the day after Thanksgiving! Find the best Black Friday deals on gifts! Order and address the Christmas cards! Take the kids to see all the light displays! Christmas parties! Teddy Bear Teas! Pictures with Santa! Homemade decorated Christmas cookies! Oh, and in the midst of all those activities, don’t forget the real reason for the season! Advent Calendars! Caroling at the nursing home! The list goes on and on.
Social media doesn’t help.
I see your Elves making mischief and bringing joy. I see your trees that have been up since Halloween. I know you’ve already been to 3 Christmas parades, the Harbor Lights Winter Festival, and Breakfast with Santa. You’re all having the most wonderful time of the year, and I’m feeling like my kids are missing out on the magic of Christmastime. But the reality is, they’re not.
Moms, we have to stop stressing and pressuring ourselves to make every moment of the season special.
Christmas isn’t magical because of homemade cookies and perfectly staged photos. The wonder of the season is naturally inherent in our kids, and we can either foster that wonder or squash it with our attitudes. A stressed mom is a snappy mom. A pressured mom is a pushy mom.
What if, this year, instead of stressing and pressuring ourselves to be at every event, to make every homemade treat and ornament, to have the perfect outfit that complements the perfectly decorated tree for pictures, we just relax and enjoy the times we can spend with our families? The parades, the pictures, the decorations, and the treats can all be wonderful, but if they’re causing you to become more like Ebenezer Scrooge than Bob Cratchit, they’re not worth it.
Do you know what IS worth it? Cuddling up on the couch to watch Elf for the tenth time. Remembering and laughing over the year when the tree fell over because the kids put all the decorations on one side. Taking a card and some cookies to a neighbor without family, or better yet, inviting her to spend Christmas morning with your family. Driving around to see the Christmas lights while the kids fight over who gets to look out what window. Sneaking out the wrapping paper and tape after the kids go to bed, then watching their excitement the next morning when they discover new presents under the tree.
Christmas is such a wonderful time, and this year, I’m resolving to slow down and enjoy it with my kids instead of rushing and stressing and pushing through until I fall on the couch exhausted the night of December 25.
If the Christmas cards turn into Happy New Year cards and the gingerbread men are actually store bought ginger snaps decorated with frosting from a can, so be it. I’ll raise my mug of Swiss Miss as I sit in my non-Christmas jammies and remember “Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” -Dr. Seuss
**I want to give credit to my friend Ande, who gave me the idea for this post’s title. If you ever need graphic design work, she is the best! Check out her work at Pixel Print Media.