10 Things to Not Give A Crap About This Christmas






1. The perfect family christmas photo. Listen,  we know what you look like. Your kids are adorable.  Your family is gorgeous. If forced photography stresses you all out, then just forget it. Take a big, fabulous family selfie of everybody in their flannel pajamas lounging on the couch, and call it a day.

2. The organic, non-GMO, free range, vegan, kale enhanced holiday feast. Grandma’s 50 year old stuffing recipe from a box,  a store-bought pumpkin pie, and green beans from a can covered in cream of whatever soup will work just fine. Now relax. 

3. Weight gain. Just go ahead and indulge. Eat the cookies AND the peppermint bark. Drink the egg nog. Nobody ever said in the last months of their life, “Man, I really shouldn’t have had that extra gingerbread man in 1993.”

4. The impeccably thought out, super special present for your spouse. Seriously, you know what they really want, and it’s still FREE. Save some dough and just hit the sheets. Mistletoe optional.

5. A tree that is decorated like Martha Stewart stopped by. If it has lights, all the kids’ “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments on it, and an angel or star on the top, you’re good. Now walk away.

6. The neighbor’s amazeballs 50,000 strands of lights on their house that you can no way compete with. Place some candles in your windows with a sign that says, “We support the house next door. And saving the planet. Noel Ya'll!” 

7. Rude shoppers, rude cashiers, rude mall parking lot drivers. Just smile at them, heed Elsa’s advice, and LET IT GO.   Remind yourself you have no idea what they're dealing with this Christmas, and don’t get angry. Instead, say to yourself, “I hope that person’s day gets better” and then move on. 

8. The Elf on the Shelf. Do it. Don’t do it. Who cares. Go over the top and have your Elf at all night disco parties with Barbie, or just leave that sucker sitting on the coffee table for days.  Don’t mock the overzealous Elf moms,  and don’t knock the lazy ones. Remember, it’s about the kids, not a competition.

9. Your inner perfectionist. Tell that  “Everything has to be joyfully perfect this Christmas” voice to take a coal filled stocking and shove it up her yuletide ass.  Just BE present. Live the holiDAYS. Sit for longer. Listen harder. Watch deeper. Nobody will be arriving at your door on the 25th with a first place Christmas trophy. 


10. Having a glamorous New Year’s Eve Bash to attend.  If you’ve got a houseful of kids, chances are your best NYE party night has already happened, and another one is not on the horizon for awhile. So just  put the kids to bed, crack open the cheap champagne, and binge watch the last three seasons of Friends.  Enjoy the fact all your kids are actually tucked in and home on NYE, because the days of you staying up all night worrying about how crazy they’re possibly getting are right around the corner.

Moms, It's Time to Get Your Joy Back This Christmas


It’s started. 

The lunatic race to the perfect Christmas has begun. 

The stores are swelling with garland, light strands, and good tidings of joyfully packaged perfume sets. Pinterest looks like a red and green glitter bomb exploded on its cover page, and TV commercials are running their cringe worthy “Give your family this $50K luxury car for Christmas!”  ads. Bucket lists like 25 Things to Do to Have a Merry Christmas, 10 Must Take Christmas Photo Ops, 30 Christmas Movies You Need to Watch, 20 Christmas Dinners You Need to Make, and 15 Easy to Make Organic Free Range Christmas Gifts, are spreading across the internet. The 24 hour Christmas music stations are already streaming, Christmas party obligations and dates are filling up datebooks, and mail order catalogs selling everything from toys to actual nuts are spilling out of the mailbox. 

Sigh

I already want a long winter’s nap.

I am your average 40 something mom with a large family and busy household to run, and truthfully, the holidays scare the hell out of me. I felt the pangs of Christmas anxiety for the first time a few days ago, strolling through a store littered with holly berry and pine scented candles, 20 foot blow up reindeers, and shelves overloaded with peppermint bark and giant wheels of red velvet ribbon.  It was then that the mom's to do list maker in my brain cranked up……

All the Christmas bucket list crap

Decorations unpacked and put up

Baking, baking, cooking, baking

Awesome and appropriate gifts for teenagers…..which don’t actually exist

Christmas card family picture….need to buy dress clothes that actually fit all the kids, then find time we're all together and liking each other. And a patient soul to take the picture 

All the family's present shopping..all of it! 

Church plays, school plays, practices, costumes

Wrapping

The damn ELF

Parties, cookie swaps, gift exchanges

Christmas crafting with the kids

Mailing, shipping 

Charity toy drive, food drive

And those were only the thoughts off the top of my head. 

Imagine what’s below Santa’s surface. 


I walked out of that store sweating with more yuletide anxiety than Rudolph with a low nose battery. All I could think is I want the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” to hurry up and “Jingle All the Way” to New Years Eve.  Like NOW. And then I realized my holiday to do list was really just a written collection of first world mom problems, and I needed to put my Mrs. Claus panties on and start decking some damn halls. But even that doesn't feel right. Instead, it feels like my first world mom Christmas problems list were borne of first world Christmas ideas; ideas that come from big box retailers, Madison Avenue, social media, and the Jones’. 

Is everything on my list really necessary? Can I do less and still provide a memorable and joy filled holiday for my family?

Well Oh Holy Night! The answer is a Hark Heralding Yes! 

What do my kids and family actually NEED to have a Merry Christmas? 

Well, I think just one thing really. 

Time.

Just lots and lots of just time spent with a happy and sane mom and dad.

So if that means less decking of the halls and more saying no to obligations that only bring stress to me and the rest of the family,  then so be it.  

But will I  feel like less than a great mom for not  beginning to make it  look a lot like Christmas from now until the 25th?? 

Can’t peace on Earth start within the four walls of  our own homes? Yes it can. 

The only obligations I truly have this Christmas are the ones I choose to put on myself, and I need to ensure they remain the ones that also bring joy, peace, and maybe an actual silent night to our family. I refuse to let what was once considered a sacred holiday-but now wreaks of door-busters and debt inducers- bring resentment, impatience, and frustration to my family. 

There is nothing in a store, an online cart, or on the cover of shiny catalog that can take the place of a joyful parent. There is nothing worth pinning, baking, or creating that is worth more than peaceful time spent with my family. There is no Christmas office party, white elephant gift swap, or holiday open house that is more meaningful than an evening spent on the couch surrounded by all the kids, popcorn, and the movie Elf on TV. They will remember that. 

As a child, I once caught my mom crying while listening to Christmas songs.  
I asked her why the songs were making her sad. She told me that Christmas, the time of year where people are supposed to be the happiest, is often the time of year where people are the saddest. It wasn’t until many years later I understood this unfortunate truth-that for many, the cheerful explosion of the holidays are a stark reminder of another season of their suffering. It is a time when grieving spouses, parents, grandparents, and widows, are all trying to gracefully navigate an inherently joy filled time. 

Perhaps it is those people that can teach us how to embrace the holidays; how much more important it is to make moments, not molasses cookies. 


They can remind us there is only one thing on our holiday to do list that is mandatory. One thing that needs to be done above all the others. One precious gift we need to give our family every year. 

The gift of time. 

And that is all I want this Christmas. I want to live the holidays in the present, not because of presents. I want to wrap my patience and my arms around my children, not boxes. I want to hang on their every word, not hang more wreaths. I want to picture my family in their best selves, not their best clothes. I want to swap stories with my family, not baked goods with strangers. I want to create organic memories, not forced traditions. And I want to keep  perspective and keen awareness in my thoughts at all times, reminding me that the only one true thing on the holiday to do list that is a MUST DO is this…..

To be together with the people I love.  

That is the gift I am giving myself, and my family, this year.  

Moms, let’s help each other keep Christmas joyfully simple this year, and remember that ourselves, our sanity, and our time is the best gift we can give our families this Christmas.

Are you in?