We all know it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But there is so much pressure to create perfect moments and memories, give the perfect gift, remember and connect with friends and loved ones. Quite frankly, the holidays are exhausting. And with four kids, who have end of year parties, secret Santas, holiday concerts and a last push on schoolwork before the break, any mom is tempted to hold up the white flag. And then, they have the dreaded wish lists (demand lists disguised as wishes). So I have compiled a list of things I will try to do to make the holiday less cluttered so I can savor the moments with my family.
To start I will tell the kids—
- Santa is on a cleansing diet so he can fit in his big red suit so he’s not available for any requests yet. And he doesn’t want us making him any cookies or treats of any kind.
- The elf on the shelf is planning to be extra naughty this year so you’d better bring your A game and best behavior if there are going to be any presents in this house.
- Then show your kids a picture of mass chaos (like the day apple starts selling the iphone 6) and say, “All these people are in line for unlimited texting so I don’t think it’s in the cards for you anytime soon.”
- Don’t feel guilty for giving your kids exactly what they ask for. You shouldn’t be creative in finding the perfect gift. Your only reward will be giant teardrops.
- Buy your own gifts this year, then wrap them up and put them in your husband’s closet. When he sees them, just say, “You’re welcome,” and walk out. And when your husband says the same thing he says every year, “don’t get me anything. I don’t need anything and don’t want to spend the money.” Take him up on it for once. Give him a hammer and a list of chores.
- Don’t under any circumstances buy into the notion that Black Friday is a ‘must’ shopping day. You will never complete your shopping as you will be run over by crazy moms on a mission using shopping carts as weapons. And the sales will continue into the season anyway.
- Don’t feel guilty about having a nicer outfit and shoes than your child. They don’t really want to wear them anyway. And have good hair and nails and get in the photos. Photo-bombing makes you feel young! So be ready and create those opportunities.
- Secretly create the hashtag #secretsantasucks. Grab a glass of wine each night, vent anonymously and read all the other comments. This will help you appear sane through the holiday mayhem.
- When your children are exhausted and arguing, it is understandable. They’ve just executed a fall schedule that could kill a rhinoceros. Create holiday cheer coupons and give them each one worth a dollar if they can change the fight into merriment on the spot. It’s like a dollar value menu for moms.
- Buy baked items at the gourmet grocery store. Recut them and place them in a beautiful box with a sprinkle of powered sugar. If its for a class party, add raspberries on the side.
I actually love the holidays, a time of thanks and re-connection. But having a few tricks up my sleeve will leave me freed up and filed with holiday cheer.