I love Christmas.  I have wonderful memories of how we celebrated Xmas when I was a child, and always tried to do what I could to make it truly magical for my 4 boys.  But Holiday Season gift giving can get a little nutty.  I remember one year traveling to a far away Toys R’Us to try to secure a Buzz Lightyear and Woody doll for two of my boys, just to discover they had no Woody dolls left!!!  I was panicked!  Christmas was going to be ruined for my oldest (a little over-dramatic I know).  This was all he wanted, it was on the top of his Xmas-list with three starts next to it.  The stars were a code system letting Santa know that this was really important… What was I to do?  I grabbed the two last Buzz dolls and figured they would have to get the same thing.  At least they were both from the same story/movie.  Standing roughly 40th in line I happened to notice up at the front that someone was exchanging or returning a Woody doll.  I turned to my linemate (a complete stranger) “hold my spot please!”; ran up to the front and yelling “I’ll take the Woody!!”  The woman, also a mother obviously, looked at me smiling, knowing she had just saved me from probable disgrace and handed me the Woody telling me that her husband had already purchased one unknown to her.  I was so relieved.

Within seconds another mother came running up – “do you still need two Buzz Lightyear figures?”  No, I didn’t.  It felt good to help another mom.  High fives and smiles with strangers followed.

It was not lost on me how crazy this was, but this is what we do as parents, as mothers.  

It’s the expectations we put on ourselves to be the perfect hostess throwing lavish holiday parties, wanting to prepare the perfect Xmas dinner without any help from anyone; aspiring to have the very best baked good for the ‘friendly’ cookie exchange.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  I really don’t know, so I stopped.  I do not participate in cookie exchanges.  I don’t want 10 dozen cookies in the house any more than I want to make 10 dozen cookies.  I throw parties, but I buy the appetizers and let people bring one if they offer.  I clean after the party, not before.  I sit down and read with my boys and take time to enjoy the season and the excitement with them.  This somehow makes everything worthwhile.  Watching Miracle on 34th street and Rudolph are some of my favourite things to do.  

So we re-prioritized:

  • Make time for the little, but important things first.  
  • Make time for yourself as well.  
  • Get your workouts done even if they are a little shorter.  
  • Fule your body well by focusing on nutrition right up to the big eating days.  And try to follow the Norwegian tradition (where I am from) of not having any cookies until Dec. 23rd. 
  • Make lists.  Follow them, check them off and pat yourself on the back when you do. 

Take a little pressure off this year and focus on what matters most – time together.  And keep in mind that the higher we set the bar for our kids (and ourselves), the higher the expectations.

I know, I have been there

We have some great ideas for how you can do that here.  See you on the other side xo.  And in the meantime check out some other Holiday Season Stress buster posts:

Beat the Holiday Season Stress This Year

The best gift any mom could give and get

5 great ways to give impactful gifts

Elisabeth xo