Sure, sure, the holidays are the happiest time of the year. For SOME of us, anyway. I mean, when you’re a kid, what’s not to like? There’s candy! And cookies! And presents! Who cares about cavities or credit card bills when you’re a kid? Also, all the presents you ask Santa for are FREE, didn’t you know? At least, that’s what my kids tell me when I try to shut down their requests for a MacBook Air and an Apple watch. This is my face when I look at my kids’ Christmas lists:
I mean, this year my 6-year-old’s list includes an ATM and a Venus fly trap! In the past, my 9-year-old has asked for live animals and exotic musical instruments. Does Santa even stock those items? Does Amazon? Whatever happened to Play-Doh and teddy bears?
I hate to get all Grinchy about the holidays, though. Even though my younger son actually loves the Grinch. So much that he dressed up like him this year after watching the movie and swiped all the lights and ornaments off the (already decorated!) Christmas tree and stuffed them in his pillow case. Sigh. Santa, please bring me some patience.
Every light display, every holiday train garden inspires so much joy in kids, it’s hard not to get caught up in their enthusiasm. Just look at this picture. The little kids’ faces say, “We are SO EXCITED to be posing in front of this faux Christmas village!!” And big brother’s face says, “I can’t believe you’re making me stand next to these weirdos. Can we get this over with please?”
In fact, the older kids get, the harder it is to impress them. I remember a couple years ago my older son opened the reindeer that pooped jelly beans that I thought he’d love and said, “Ew, Mom. That’s gross.” Seriously?! I don’t get boys at all.
Another way my kids and I don’t see eye-to-eye is that I am always pushing them to embrace experiences and activities over STUFF. So I was thrilled when my tween son agreed to go to a parent-child cooking class with me, his best friend, and his friend’s mom. We had the best time, baking macaroons, cutting out gingerbread men, melting chocolate. This is his excited face. Just take my word for it, OK?
My advice for parents who can’t seem to recapture that childlike joy at Christmastime: go easy on yourself. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to fulfill every whim and wish. I mean, your kid could — and probably will — change his mind about that hedgehog he wants before you’ve even had a chance to Google what they eat. (Dry cat food and crickets, FYI.) Instead, do what YOU enjoy. For me, that’s the decorating, the cookies, and the music. Focus on the fun stuff and try to let go of the stress. And be on the lookout for those little glimpses of holiday joy on your children’s faces. You never know when they might appear.
Note: This post was inspired by Shari’s Berries #MakeaHolidayFace campaign. I may receive products in exchange for my participation, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Such as, how cute are these snowmen brownie pops?!