Parents, Take the Holiday Pressure Off Yourself Now

Let me start by saying that I have three children, which is too many. I was raised by an old southern housewife who accompanied every trip and handed out ice cream at school events (and carried the internal pressure with her to do the same). But I have a full-time husband who just had COVID while I was solo parenting and sleeping on the couch, and we’re approaching a three- year pandemic in which every close contact and mild fever puts my kid in front of a shitty Chromebook. which he can’t log in to “learn” (read: smashing Goldfish crackers and watching Super Mario videos) for 10 days. Oh, and it’s Christmas.

None of this works together.

That’s why I’m feeling the extra shit this holiday season. Even before I had children, I had adorable, sentimental ideas about what the holiday would be like, most of which were naive and completely wrong. Because you know what I didn’t understand? I will be in charge of creating all the magic. (And making sure everyone has the same number of requests at the same price on their Amazon wishlists, which, by the way, are not deleted after purchase. Bezos!) All of this – sorry for the French – is a huge job.

For parents of young children celebrating Christmas, December is always superfluous. We spend the month shopping, packing, scheduling activities, and typically the executives at Merry Manufacturing (while maintaining actual jobs). The stress of holiday responsibilities can take its toll on your Christmas mood. If yours is on life support, what can you do? Less is what. Here are my top tips on how to shrink and save the few shards of fun you have as we cross the damn finish line.

Stay away goddamn Pinterest

Unless you’re a child of the illicit love of Nate Burkus and Joanna Gaines (or just enjoy feeling inferior), don’t open this damn center of cozy, carefully curated and unattainable cottage porn. Did you think your two little shiny white deer from Target were enough to make your table festive? Well, you could make “simple” orange and carnation crafts for your Christmas topiary and mini cranberry wreath cards if you weren’t so lazy.

Pinterest sees your onions glued to a box of chocolates and lifts you mason jars with bulging eyes, red pom-pom noses, and brown pipe-cleaner horns for you – fun for the whole family. You don’t need this kind of negativity in your life.

Stop Elf on the Shelf

Are you saying what it is? You want me to decorate the yard, bake cookies, give gifts to teachers, make gingerbread houses, research the best Christmas lights in the state, tip everyone I have ever met, and put the creepy Barbie elf in new naughty scenarios with elaborate details … backstories every night? ( Today he is camping, using a piece of spaghetti to make snacks! Today he has a spa day in a sink full of cotton balls! Today he is wrapped in a foil spacesuit, hanging from light fixtures like an astronaut! ) An elf who socializes wonderfully with a hilarious fictional person in ways I can’t explain, giving me another thread in Santa’s web of lies that I can’t keep straight? An elf who, when I inevitably forget to move it, will give me something else to feel like I failed before coffee? Nope. I’m fine thanks.

Don’t go to the mall

Do not go to the mall under any circumstances. Can you hear me? You might think, “Oh, I’m just going to get a few pairs of pajamas because it’s too late to deliver them,” and you leave three hours later with a migraine and $ 287 later, cursing more than just the Macy’s employee who is then signed a new credit card with someone, while 10 people developed sciatica along her endless line, as well as yourself.

Don’t worry about gifts

When my mom friend wrote me this solution to the holiday madness, I didn’t even get it. Well, who then buys gifts? But she didn’t mean not to buy gifts. She meant don’t worry if you received enough or “the perfect gift” by referring to the undeniable (and dare I say universal?) Fact that “my kids do not 100% remember what they got last Christmas” and her unwavering spirit “There’s no chance I’m running out of Christmas Eve to buy the doll you added to your Santa list at the last minute.” Also, “If they don’t get it, that’s a good life lesson: you don’t get everything you want all the time.” Heroic sayings, everyone.

(PS This includes your spouse’s family. Does your partner have a wallet and a computer? Great! They have everything they need to buy gifts for their parents.)

Don’t volunteer to coordinate school parties (or gifts)

First, if you are the parent of the class: thanks for your service, I love you very much. Second, if the room does not have parents, and the teacher asks if you can help in the organization of the winter holiday, listen to me now and hear me later: Do not. I know that you can feel that you should . (Of course I do.) But I also know that this turns into 12 moving parts that you are likely to regret faster than you can tell SignUp Genius. (And a good celebration will still be agreed.)

Secondly. One day I volunteered to raise money so that one of my children’s teachers could make a solid present for the class. This was a mistake. If you don’t like sending out multiple posting reminders Do you have Paypal ? inquiries and tracking of deposits on three different accounts, learn from me. Chocolate, gift card, done.

Stop Wrapping Gifts

Do not misunderstand me. I love it when there is a colorful assortment of papers under the tree, as well as a decent ratio of wrapped boxes and gift bags. (I also love the idea of ​​slowing down the frenzy of opening gifts, and my kids have an intuitive pleasure in tearing paper.) But . There are times when we all need to relax a little and stop trying to make everything look so cute. And when a mutant strain of the new coronavirus challenges all of us, right at this time. In fact, your kids won’t remember or care about how their gifts are wrapped. Avoid the five-step process of measuring, cutting, folding, applying tape and tape. Use gift bags or get hardcore. Wrap only gifts from you , and everyone from Santa Claus greets them in an unopened form in a beautiful pile on their favorite chair (or hiding it slightly).

Receive gift cards wherever possible

Yes, they are impersonal and too much like cash, which in my opinion should be used for things like weddings, proms, and bar mitzvahs / bat mitzvahs. However, 2021 was a boil on the body of humanity, and you survived it. Use any time-saving measures as your reward this year. They are not customized or brooding, but they will allow you to scribble a few gifts in a matter of minutes, so you have more time to make this dried citrus Christmas garland and DIY candy decor. (Just kidding. Don’t do either.)

Get rid of holiday cards

I love getting holiday cards – that’s why I make holiday cards. I love getting happy emails and showing them so much that I’m afraid to stop doing them. But when that first card came out on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and I was already feeling lagging behind, I knew that cumbersome process of syncing, downloading, selecting, trimming, fetching, and addressing had to go away. There is always 2022.

I won’t be banal, but the season and the warm nostalgia that we carry with us is not associated with gifts. Not really. Of course, the year we got the scooter, or the Sega Genesis, will forever remain in our memories. But our kids won’t remember if we didn’t skate. They will remember when it was their night, when they turned on all the Christmas lights, sneaking candy from the tree, their father sang along with Nat King Cole. And on cold nights, they had to stay up late with popcorn, cocoa and a movie.

At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I’m going to watch Aliens Christmas .

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