It’s December. Officially the Christmas/Holiday season. Your pre-kid self would have been stress-free and embraced the buying of gifts, holiday parties, social gatherings, and endless hours watching Hallmark Christmas movies. But that was then and this is now. Times have changed haven’t they? We’re only a few days into the month and you’re already stressed aren’t you? Heck, you were feeling the pressure before Thanksgiving! As a parent the Holidays are a lot. A whole lot.
But if you know me, you know I’m an extremely positive person and this blog is not meant to be negative at all (despite the opening paragraph). In fact, it’s meant to do the opposite. You see, I come from a huge family. My Dad is one of 11 and my Mom is one of 7. And then there was the step’s, the friends, etc. The holidays were always a crazy time amongst both side of my families. And Christmas day was the same. I remember as a kid going to 3 different households on Christmas day. Though I loved visiting everyone, and the presents, and the eating, it was a lot. It was joyous. It was happy. It was chaotic.
Then I met my current husband and his family was added into the equation. His family is quite small and only one stop, but still it was one more stop. Side note: His face during his first Christmas experience with my families was priceless. It was unlike anything he had ever seen or known and the festivities lasted for days. It was fun but oh so tiring!
Then we had a baby. And then another. Not that quickly, but you get it. Sure, in the beginning we tried doing all the stops. It’s what I had known my whole life. It was my normal. It was my Christmas. Until it wasn’t.
After the first year with our 2nd little one we knew things had to change. It was way too much chaos. So much that it became almost unenjoyable. We had no time to actually enjoy our surroundings because by the time we unpacked and got the kids settled, it was basically time to pack up again. Not ideal. So we eventually made the leap and cut some stops out of our day. We hung out at our own home longer. We enjoyed our mornings by inviting my husband’s family over for breakfast. We stayed in our jammies longer and the kids loved playing with their toys while the adults loved hanging out and relaxing (and sipping a mimosa obviously). Christmas Eve ended up being held with one side of my family and Christmas day was spent with the other side. The whole day. No more house hopping! And do you know the best part? Our families totally got it. There was nobody upset or offended. They all had experienced the same types of craziness when their own kids were small.
The whole holiday season should be enjoyable and memorable. Sure, it’s going to be busy and can even be a little chaotic, but that’s all part of the fun right? And as the kiddos grow there are more things to add into the season – making Gingerbread Houses, baking Christmas cookies, driving around to look at the lights, and so many other Christmas traditions.
My humble advice to you, as a parent, is to do what makes you and your family happy. If you want to do it all, then do it all! If you want to hang out at home in your Christmas jammies till 1pm on Christmas Day, then do that. Limit what stresses you. Increase what makes you happiest. And most importantly – enjoy the season and its true meaning. You won’t regret it.