If you are in need of a snappy mantra for holiday cheer to get you through the season, stick around. Friends, please meet Kalli Verbecky. She’s visited us before, is generally fabulous, and today has shared a refreshing perspective and gentle reality check, to which I say amen.
IT’S ALMOST FREAKING CHRISTMAS
I mean, duh, right?
You have your advent calendar out, your halls are decked to the max, and cookies and treats, and zoo lights, and making gingerbread houses, and trimming your tree, and an elf on a shelf and hot cocoa for all! Because that is what celebrating the holidays in 2014 means I guess. This level of festive commitment is what your kids are counting on because you ARE the source of friggin’ holiday magic! So get with the program and try not to ruin their childhoods with a lackluster December showing. You don’t want to spend the rest of the year in a shame cycle now do you?
Let’s dial that back for a minute with a short vignette: last December I had a bit of a wake-up call. Let me preface this by saying I love the holidays, I love Thanksgiving, I love Christmas, I love the New Year. I’d love Hanukkah too if I knew of anybody in the vicinity who was Jewish. I love it all! The holidays are my jam. Except last year I had a newborn and a 5 and 3 year old, a husband in school and at work 24/7 and you know? I lost that loving feeling, that loving holiday feeling that I cherish so much. I didn’t take my kids to do fun things, there was no Santa at the mall or live reindeer on the square, we didn’t bake gingerbread men or frost Christmas cookies.
I nixed the neighbor gifts, I didn’t send out holiday cards, we didn’t open a new Christmas book to read together every night, there was no advent calendar in sight. I did manage a Christmas tree, made sure we had a few gifts to open, and scraped together matching jammies for the small people but that, my friends, was about it.
Turns out, it was enough. Plenty actually.
Christmas morning came and went, the kids were happy, I felt tidal waves of relief. The tree went down the next day as did any decorations that were half-heartedly thrown up. Christmas was over and a HALLELUJAH TO THAT, let’s not dwell. My eyes were further opened to the fact that as a parent, bending over backwards to create special memories for your kids isn’t always a necessary thing. Sure, sometimes you do it anyway and it totally pays off but if this isn’t one of those times…don’t sweat it!
“You do you” is my motto when it comes to the holidays and pretty much everything these days. If it makes you feel good to string together a gorgeous garland of paper snowflakes you spent approximately 42 hours precision hand cutting with tiny sharp shears, awesome. Best snowflake garland ever. If you turn on a corny ABC family Christmas special you DVR’d for the kids out of desperation and hide in the bathroom checking Instagram instead, I feel that too. Like I said, you do you.
We’ve all got enough stress from life in general, there’s no reason to punish ourselves with frantic efforts to cram it all in and make everything perfect with the excuse of “it’s the holidays, I have to”. There’s so much value to be found in just letting things flow. So what if your grandma’s recipe for special braided Christmas bread doesn’t get made this year? There’s always next year, or next week if you’re feeling it then instead. Your effort level should be directly related to your happiness level, so let that be your guide. Use my personal mantra for holiday cheer, or create your own. Either way, I highly recommend it.
Happy Holidays, it’s almost Christmas alright?
You do you.