When I look back on Christmas as a child, I can now understand the empty wine bottles and my Mom’s classic tag line “if you don’t like it, you can take it back”!
I am now the mother of 3 and a stepmom or as we like to call ourselves at Revive- “a bonus mom” of 2. 😌 Every Christmas I find myself drowning in all the things needed to be done to make the Christmas season “just prefect”. I joke with my husband every year that he will be just as surprised as our kids when they open their gifts. It’s not really a joke, he has little to do with the gift buying, never mind the gift wrapping. He will often sit with me on the floor on Christmas Eve (as moral support) as I furiously wrap the seemingly endless piles of gifts I have spent the last few weeks picking out. He will offer to help…asking which gifts he can wrap. Last year I caved and allowed him to write out the gift tags 🤷🏻♀️, but the wrapping and bow making needed to be done by me and ONLY ME! As my children pull, rip and tear open the paper I feel a sense of joy and accomplishment, but is it worth the stress, the extra pounds and the increased alcohol consumption? 🤔 No, it really isn’t. My kids don’t care about the bows or if Dad had wrapped a few gifts. In fact I don’t think they even care if the gifts are wrapped. I had a client who told me her parents never wrapped gifts at Christmas; their excuse was that Santa didn’t have time to make the toys and then wrap them. Genius! Those are my kind of people. It didn’t matter to my client, in fact she thought it’s strange that people go through the hassle of gift wrapping.
So how can I manage the chaos of the holiday season? Are there short cuts that I am just missing because I think it all has to be prefect?! How can we continue the traditions that are meaningful and important while spending less time worrying over the details. This year I’ve tried to focus on what’s important, which for my family is being present. Spending time with our children has always been the priority. Each year we try to complete a few time honored traditions; making cookies, visiting Santa, or making homemade ornaments. Whatever it is, it allows us to spend time together.
Each year on December 1st we gather together and decorate the tree. This tradition started 7 years ago when my husband and I got married. It has changed over the years to include our children, who have a very different idea of what makes a beautiful tree. As we begin I find myself suffering from the medical condition “perfect ornament placement” disorder. You laugh, but any of you that have decorated a tree with anyone under the age of 10 will agree this is a very real thing. As we worked on our tree this year I reminded myself…it’s not about prefection, but about the experience. My kids will not remember that I worked behind them moving their ornaments 😜, but they will remember if Mom was stressed out about something they just couldn’t quite understand. I don’t want that memory for them. I want them to share this tradition with their own families and remember how much fun they had with Mom. I want them to learn how to share the responsiblies of the holiday season with their partners; anyone and everyone can wrap gifts! I hope they will learn how to manage the chaos and focus on the good chaos of uncontrolled laughter and the screams that seeing what Santa brought brings at 5am on Christmas Day.
The meaning of the holidays sometimes gets lost. It’s really about being with those we love, and showing our appreciation for those who are most important in our lives. Today at a Holiday party, I laughed and teased my co-workers as we continued our tradition of White Elephant gift giving and sharing Rum Balls (to eat at home obviously 🤭). To me that is the joy of Christmas; having fun, laughing and allowing yourself to enjoy the moment. Who cares if you can’t get your Christmas cards out in the mail on time or ever?! Believe me…your kids will be okay if they don’t get every item they circled in the Target Toy Catelog. They really don’t care about the gift paper or bows. This holiday season I encourage you to focus on what is manageable and meaningful. The best gift you can give your kids is a happy, stress free Momma!
Happy Holidays from the three amigos at Revive Family Counseling; from our families to yours we wish you a blessed and stress free holiday season 🎄🎅🏻🤶🏼🎁