If I put 50 moms in a room, and excitedly said “the holiday season is here ladies” a big portion of the room would suddenly begin a slow, uncomfortable clap, as a look of instant bewilderment washed over them.
The holidays can be STRESSFUL for moms, because they’re usually the magic makers, and being a magic maker is hard work.
Be honest, how much do you genuinely ENJOY the holiday season? If you’re often feeling frazzled Thanksgiving through NYE and are completely depleted on January 1st, this one is for you.
It’s December 5th, and Christmas craziness is in high gear.
So often, moms are the ones doing the shopping, setting up the holiday photo session and ordering the holiday cards, planning the class parties, moving the Elf on the Shelf, playing Santa, watching The Grinch for the 100th time, baking the cookies, making 50 appetizers to bring to a never-ending slew of holiday parties, cleaning like a lunatic when hosting holiday parties…I could go on. But I won’t. Because it’s exhausting just to think about what it takes to make Christmas magical for my family.
Not that us moms don’t love it. The joy on our kids faces when they find the Elf doing something silly, or talk about Santa, is a joy we wouldn’t trade for anything. But that doesn’t mean Thanksgiving through New Years Day isn’t a blur we can only hope to make it out of in one piece.
Side note: does anyone else get just a little salty that Santa gets all the credit for the awesome gifts you hunted down and lost hours of your life standing in line for?
In a world where Pinterest rules and everyone’s holiday best is posted to social media and shoved in our faces on the daily, the desire to make the holidays perfect is as strong as the coffee most moms drink just to get it all done.
That need to give our families the perfect holiday season often has underlying undertones that aren’t so jolly. Fear that you’ll look like a bad mom if you don’t take your kids to see Santa even though you hate doing it. That inner voice telling you you’re lazy if you don’t create magical new worlds every single night for your families elf. The stress that if you don’t do the traditions your family created long before you were born that your family will be disappointed. Pressure to volunteer for all the things so no one has the opportunity to give you the side eye when you say no (I see you, people pleasers).
This year, I encourage you to settle for a good enough holiday season. I know, that sounds lackluster and sad. But it isn’t, it’s actually full of joy and is more on point with what Christmas is really about.
Good enough means letting your kids bake with you, even though it means your cookies are strangely shaped and decorated in epic Pinterest-fail glory. Because making memories is more important than delivering perfect cookies.
Host a potluck style holiday party instead of killing yourself for two days doing it all yourself. Because gathering together and enjoying each-other’s company matters more than showing everyone what an awesome hostess you are. In the season of holiday get-togethers several times a week, doing less is doing so much more for your soul.
Choose to believe that it’s ok to choose one way to give, and say “thanks but no” to everything else. Because giving excitedly to a cause you love is more important than giving to 10 different ones you only give to because you feel pressured to say yes to everyone that wants you to donate something to the cause they love.
Most importantly, give yourself grace and factor your own happiness into the magic. The holidays are meant to be enjoyable for you too, you sweet momma. Soak in the magic, and speak up about things you don’t love.
Sick of watching that same holiday movie every single day? Suggest a new one. Want to spend more quiet time with your kids Christmas morning so they can play with their toys and you can sit back and soak it in? Tell your family you’re showing up late this year. Tired of bending over backwards to come up with creative and tasty gluten-free, sugar-free, food dye-free, dairy-free treats to serve at the winter party at your kids school? Give that joy to someone else this year. You don’t need to do it all, and you certainly don’t have to do anything you don’t like doing when it comes to all of the extra stuff!
Let’s take a second to talk about holiday cards. If you don’t have a perfectly on theme shot of your child (like this cutie below), don’t kill yourself obsessing about the perfect shot (whether you’re taking it or you hired a pro). People just want to see your adorable family, and no one will judge your shot selection more than you’ll judge it yourself. I mean, if your friends and family do judge it, they’re jerks and who cares what they think anyway. Also, if getting your act together to order cards at all stresses you out, don’t do it. Save some trees and your sanity by saying “not this year”.
Let’s just be honest, the holidays can be stressful no matter how much you simplify. Besides carrying around a travel mug filled with generously spiked egg nog 24/7, these tips will help this holiday season.
Check out three of my go-to holiday hacks:
- Stealth shopping that hides itself. Does hiding gifts give you anxiety? If you have a little sneak on your hand, online shopping can be your BFF. This year, I did a bunch of shopping on Amazon. I changed the shipping to name to “Child Name, #X” so that when the boxes came, I knew who they were for and what they contained. I have a list that I keep in a super stealthy place (that I won’t name because my Christmas snoop can read) so I always know what I have in what box. The kids’ gifts are currently hiding in plain site in the garage, and they have no idea what is inside. All I have to do is wrap the boxes and I’m done! Winning.
- Be the hostest with the mostest sanity. A little pre-party planning goes a long way. Download this list of tips for hosting an epic holiday party!
- Ready to go gifts for the unexpected gift givers. There’s nothing worse than a sweet neighbor dropping by with a gift, when you have nothing to hand them in return. This season, be prepared by making some homemade pancake mix (recipe here) and putting it in cute mason jars. Create a cute tag to go on them, or steal mine here , and you’ll never have to send someone home empty handed again! Bonus: if you don’t use all of the jars, the kids will be thrilled that they get extra pancake mornings in January!
When you choose to let go of perfection and embrace good enough, you’ll experience a healthier, more joyful holiday season, where people and feelings come first. Those magical moments will no longer be ones you painstakingly orchestrate, but ones you revel in and enjoy WITH your family.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help, or take time for yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, call a loved one and setup a dinner date to decompress. Head to your local coffee shop and make a list of your priorities this month, and make a plan for keeping those things at the center.
The holidays don’t have to be a whirlwind for the moms behind the magic. Choose good enough over perfect this year, and add being brave enough to take that step to your list of things to be grateful for this Christmas.
Happy holidays, friends. I hope that is just good enough.
Do you have a favorite holiday hack? I’d love to hear it! Share it in the comments!
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