It’s the holiday season. And while the stores are piled with all things peppermint, another yearly custom is about to occur. The one where some Mommy Blogger tells me to quit celebrating so darn hard.
Guess what? I refuse.
You’re right. Holidays are looking a little different then when we were kids. But so is the world. If we’re not careful, if we’re not constantly on the lookout, our kids will grow up way too fast. Faster than we ever did, that’s for sure.
I’m a working mom with three kids – 8, 6 and 4 years old. I’m busy, too. But the last thing us “overkill” celebrators need is to feel more guilt. We need to support each other, not condemn. Now you’re telling me I should stop making holidays joyful? I should stop finding ways to bring laughter to my house? Because for us, that’s what all of these holidays bring. It’s not about Valentine’s goody bags for every single classmate or brimming Easter baskets. In fact, it’s not about “stuff” or competition at all. It’s about having fun, being excited, whooping it up. Before we know it, this time will be gone. So for this moment, for this one precious moment, we choose to celebrate.
I can’t imagine the month of December without our elf, Fisbee Olive Griswold. Seeing the looks on my kids’ faces each morning leaves my heart flipping. When he’s hanging upside down from the chandelier they laugh just as hard as an elaborate marshmallow bubble bath scene. It doesn’t have to be over the top. It doesn’t have to take a long time. Most of the effort my husband and I put into the holidays doesn’t actually take much effort at all.
Last December, Fisbee encouraged my kids to do something nice and they came up with the idea to make muffins for the police department before a big storm. Every time that my husband or I sprung awake at 3 am to go move the elf; well those times were instantly made worth it because of that one beautiful act.
When Jimmy McDougal, the leprechaun, comes and turns our toilet water green and makes a giant mess in the house and yes, even ties our Elf on the Shelf up by his ankles, the wide eyes and belly busting laughter is intense. It’s silly and it’s our moment together. Without the to-do list. Without Facebook. Without the math facts practice.
And yeah, you bet me and my husband are the ones cleaning up the holiday mess after the kids have gone to sleep, but as we gather up the puzzle pieces and the socks, put away green rubber amphibians and dinosaurs, and retrieve Bitty Babies from the backs of decorative roosters, we’re savoring those moments and smiling the whole damn time.
You can create joy without the pressure. Ditch the Pinterest worthy Easter eggs. Buy the store-bought Valentines. You don’t have to “go big.” Celebrating shouldn’t be stressful. If it is, then you’re doing it wrong. One Easter we were living in a hotel, between houses. But we still dyed eggs, using the same Paas kit that I did when I was a kid. Most of the eggs were a similar shade of vomit green with matching cracks. The kids got chocolate and jelly beans and went on an egg hunt in our 300 square foot suite. And the Easter bunny chomped on some leftover pizza because we had no carrots on hand. It was awesome.
When it’s the 100th day of school and like you, I remember the night before, well gosh darn it! It’s a mission and my kids are going to complete it. In a 6 year old’s world, the 100th day of school is pretty big stuff. Forgetting it is a curveball but as the mom, I can either pass on the tradition of whining about it and stomping my feet or encouraging the energy, the spirit to overcome the hurdle. I choose spirit.
I totally get what you are saying. You have no more time. It’s one more thing on your to-do list. I really am sorry that you feel pressure to “go big” and to do more but perhaps you’re missing the boat? Don’t chuck the celebrations altogether. Rethink how you’re celebrating and what actually works for your family. Dr. Seuss’s birthday? Read ‘The Cat in the Hat’ together. If you’re excited about it, they will be, too. For us, it takes just a few moments that one day will hopefully become some of the happiest memories.
And I promise you, when your kids rush to the bathroom to watch the green water come swirling in, you will feel alive in a way that cannot be replicated by any amount of caffeine.