Spirit? What Spirit?
Sometimes, us moms just can’t get into the holiday spirit. Messy trees that are dying, expensive ornaments, and trip-after-trip to the store. The weeks are filled with stress, strife, struggle, and cost. It is all too real. And whether you love the holiday season or loathe it, we all recognize those feelings as valid. Sadly, those feelings are enough to turn the biggest hearts into ones fit for The Grinch.
Growing Up Grinch
I grew up with a mom who didn’t love the holidays. For us, the holidays were more like a bad word, to be whispered in secret around the house. Most of the time, we took family vacations over the holidays. Not to celebrate there, but more like to count that trip as our celebration and ignore the date altogether. I wouldn’t call my mom The Grinch, but that’s mostly because she looks nothing like him. However, even he couldn’t stave off the love and enjoyment that excited children possess for the holidays. So maybe a little alike?
The fondest memory of Christmas with my family was the year that we were forced to take a photo on Christmas morning before opening any presents. My little brother was days old, and none of us really wanted to take the photo. Carefully, my dad set the camera timer and sprinted over to the tree. As the second of three photos snapped, we all turned around, looking up at the tree as it fell on us! I kid you not, that is my fondest memory of the holidays at home. And that one photo – well, it induces howls of laughter now (and luckily, nobody was injured).
Grinch Moms, Unite!
If you’re feeling the stress of the season, make the choice to simplify your celebration this year. Or take a page out of my mom’s book and simplify every year. Decorate a little less so there’s less clean up after the holiday. Take a family vacation to a tropical island for Christmas. Or after presents are opened, send your spouse to the movies with the kids so you have some quality time to yourself. This has actually become a tradition in my house, and I love it – I have time to sit down, drink some coffee, and (I admit) take a nap. No shame at all!
Spend time alone before the big family celebrations, too. This year, we’re celebrating with extended family on Christmas Eve, which allows us to spend Christmas Day at our leisure. The holidays are about making everyone happy, and that means YOU, too. Start new traditions that allow for you to feel like a human once the New Year rolls around.
Give Yourself the Gift of Solitude
This year during the week before Christmas, I scheduled a pamper day for myself. Alone. Jackpot. Mom gold. As much as I love my family, sometimes I just need to be alone to recharge. And a soothed, refreshed, relaxed mom can do a lot of damage to a dirty kitchen or a pile of unwrapped presents. So do something for yourself – schedule a mani/pedi, enjoy a glass of champagne in a quiet setting, or sip a cup of tea while you read, uninterrupted.
As simple or elaborate as your plan may be, just make one and follow through with it. In the end, your whole family will be glad you took time for yourself. The presents can wait for your hands to finish wrapping. Surely, the dishes can wait (or better yet, enlist your partner’s help to get them done). Just give yourself a little restorative joy, especially if you feel a bout of The Grinch coming on. I promise, you won’t regret it.