Skip to main content

Christmas as a parent vs. Christmas as a kid

The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year. I absolutely love Christmas. I have so many fond traditions and memories from when I was growing up. We always decorated our house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. We had three jobs which rotated each year between the three of us girls. Setting up the nativity scene, decorating the Santa themed mantle, and setting up the Christmas light up village. We all had our favorite. We all respected the tradition of the rotation - no questions asked. 

It never crossed my mind that the rotation may have had something to do with my mother's sanity and putting an end to constant arguing between three sisters. Or how much work goes into the tradition of making Santa, angel, bell and Christmas tree sugar cookies and frosting each one together. We loved it.

Now when my son had his first Christmas I was so excited and couldn't wait to share all of these great things about the season. He was 5 months old so it didn't quite register. Last Christmas he was too scared to come into the living room Christmas morning because he thought Santa might still be there. There I am clutching his 6 month old sister clad in my robe coaxing him out of his room Christmas morning while my husband is filming..for like 10 minutes. 

So I'm just going to say it. Christmas was way more fun as a kid than as an adult. 

I don't want to sound like a scrooge. I love the holidays. I love the idea of "seeing everything through children's eyes" again. But let's keep it real here. Right now in my life- with a 18 month old and a 3 year old getting dinner on the table and keeping everyone alive is an accomplishment.

Let's add:
Decorate the Christmas tree as a family. 
Reality - Christmas music playing as I frantically grab delicate ornaments from a ever so helpful 3 year old and try to stop my toddler from eating more packing peanuts. 

All of our ornaments are at the top of our 5' tree. The bottom has a few askew bows. 

Wrap gifts. 
Half of the gifts have paper torn already. Toddlers don't understand the concept of waiting. 

Elf on the shelf... hasn't moved for 4 days.... we have a very predictable little guy. He must really like sitting on top of the piano.

Ok - I won't go on and on complaining. I just want to say to all you parents out there who have toddlers and preschoolers and newborns- not every parent has a beautifully decorated home with sugar cookies baking in the oven and Buddy the elf doing all sorts of fun antics daily. We just have a messy house and a Christmas tree now. I started feeling pretty badly about myself this year. Now that my son is in preschool I felt like I needed to step it up. Like I really needed to push the Holiday spirit and be Mrs. Clause herself. 
You should have seen my face when I realized I had to get his preschool teacher a gift too. Most moms are making something clever. However, I think she will enjoy the coffee gift card from me. Maybe some moms can do it all with kids these ages. I can't. I won't. I decided I would rather breathe, walk around the neighborhood and look at lights, and admire the Christmas cards we get in the mail. (I'll send some out next year.) 

So hang in there mama. There's at least one more of us out there who is still trying to figure this whole holiday season thing out. It's ok. 
 As I watched the Grinch with my son tonight I began to cry when the narrator said,

" He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!" 

That's the tradition I want to show my kids. I can do that. I can snuggle and love them. I don't have to do all those good things right now. And cheers to you if you can and want to. But if you are like me mama and just might see your elf move in the morning - cheers to you and just keep on plugging in those Christmas tree lights on your half decorated tree because you're not alone! 



  1. Ha! I totally did gift card teacher gifts and no ornaments at the bottom of the tree too!! Glad to see I'm not the only one struggling with creating meaning and tradition as a parent of littles.

  2. Be VERY careful! I did that one year (when my 2nd was about 18-months) and he decided to try and reach the pretty ornaments that he wasn't supposed to touched by just pulling down on a branch until.....he brought the entire tree down on top of himself! I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, scream, or lock myself in the bathroom. FB friends, would have taken a picture of him on the ground with the tree on top. I instead relied on my then 4-year-old to play with him and keep them both safe while I took one picture of the remnants of what used to be ornaments that were once sentimental so that I could one day look back and crack a smile or even laugh. Now, 6 years later, I can laugh! But does it get any easier? It does in some ways but doesn't in others. I have to keep myself awake waiting until after 10 o'clock to move our elf b/c my 5th grader is still awake and still "believes". My kids don't want to read Christmas books this year. Seriously? But when my 5-year-old plays Barbies under the Christmas tree (we have upgraded to the non-breakable kind with the exception of the few remaining sentimental ones) incorporating Baby Jesus and the nativity scene into her play, now that is just what Christmas is about, right? And it wasn't planned.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Letting go and folding towels

I thrive when I have things to do. A schedule, something to accomplish, things to check off my mental list. I feel like the most ungrateful person because here I am struggling with the day to day of what do we do next. A summer at home with my kids. We went to the beach yesterday - we are going to the beach today. For someone who likes to move and have places to be it seems more stressful to me than anything else. Especially since in a month some major things are happening. Like my son is going to kindergarten. My daughter is starting preschool. A major volunteer role I'm doing is going to be in full swing.

But for now. The waiting. And the pressure to enjoy every minute. Because this is the last time I have my kids at home without having to have at least one of them at school everyday. I keep thinking about it. And so of course, I decided I'm going to paint their bathroom and the horribly ugly pink claw foot tub another color. All in one day. The other day I organized my 3 y…

Dear tired and hurting mamas...

Dear Mamas,

For me this is the Monday morning of spring break. For you it may just be another Monday and you may be completely not affected by school schedules yet. What if this week we had a choice?  A choice to let love be the loudest voice. Ultimately, we are really the ones who decide whether or not we are going to thrive in motherhood rather than merely surviving. It may not seem like that when love is not the loudest voice. When all the other crap weighs us down. When are not only desperately physically and emotionally needed constantly by our children but at the same time are attacked by the negativity of our mind. When we are so physically tired but then are not being kind to ourselves. Comparing ourselves to other moms in a negative way. Thinking other moms are better than us or that we are in adequate. We must try harder. Or how about worrying that something terrible will happen to our children unless we are completely aware and prepared for any situation? Or some of us may …

Diagnosis Disorders and Uniqueness

Last week I found out some really hard news about my daughter.

In my gut, I always knew certain parenting strategies wouldn't work for her like they did for my son. Everyone with more than one kid knows that. But more often than not, there are some pretty challenging as well as amazing quirks my daughter has which makes her incredibly unique.

It seemed pretty clear to me my daughter has a speech delay. Not uncommon. However, the speech therapist also diagnosed her with something called sensory processing disorder.

All of her behaviors I had thought which make her very adventurous, unique, stubborn, strong willed and creative are categorized under this disorder.  Something about the term "disorder" really bothered me which is why it was so hard to hear. Of course no parent wants their child to struggle, but I shirked away from so quickly putting a label on my 2 year old.

The positive side to knowing she possibly has SPD is I already have gained some really positive strate…