What I Can't: Even. Holiday Edition

People need to say "ho ho NO" to all the stress this time of year. I feel like everyone KNOWS this, but then my social media newsfeeds say differently. I'm seeing a lot of pressure-filled rants, complaining about costs, schedules, To-Do lists, and general love-hate for the holidays, heavy on the hate.

Get it, I do. I try to build our lives around avoiding stress whenever possible, and sometimes you just can't even. I couldn't plan our annual family photo in November like we did last year (in a word: teenager) so we had to wait until last night. Huge mistake, lots of stress, rushing and doing it ALL MYSELF because he gets home late, lines, and the tired, almost 2 year old holding a concert at the top of her lungs called "NO!" 

The all-kid picture we had to go with is her obviously trying to run away from her brother. Which is kind of hilarious.
Look at the mannequin hand
 This is my Norman Rockwell family playing with a mannequin outside the portrait place, flipping my camera the bird. This SHOULD be our holiday card, but no baby.

I told my husband:
"There really needs to be ANOTHER Mother's Day, right after the freaking holidays." 

Maaaaybe Father's Day, too.....for single dads.

Part of the *magic* is all of the various traditions that come with this time of year. The pressure to do these, whether they make you happy or not, is part of why most parents hate this time of year a little bit.

I know that some people really enjoy their traditions, and some are really fun and great. By all means, if/when that is the case, do take part, take pictures, savor every moment! 

We should also recognize the less enjoyable traditions, some that maybe just won't work this year, and the more "we've just always done it" type things people tend to do, not even realizing why they do them.

No one wants to be considered terrible parents if they deny their children....say, waiting in a long, boring line to sit on the lap of a stranger in a smelly, red suit and tell him what they "want." 

Let me put my "When I was your age" hat on for a sec.

My parents couldn't give a rip what we "wanted" for Christmas. Their philosophy was: 
"If someone is nice enough to give you any present, you say 'Thank you' smile, and be grateful." 

My parents each worked 2 or 3 jobs all year just to pay the bills. We always got something under the tree, whether it 'fell off the truck' or my dad bought it from some dicey guy's trunk, or it came out of the garbage, or whatever, and we were always grateful to get it. 

I don't think we ever made lists of what we wanted, and even if we ever did and I just don't remember, it was just to keep us busy. We got what we got. Period. We got more than we deserved I'm sure.

I remember more than once seeing something on TV I liked, I told my dad who would say, 
"Save your money," (I can still hear this clearly in my head)
and I would reply, 
"I don't have any money," 
and he would say something about getting a job, staying in school, and whatever else olde timey dads said. 

That might sound harsh to modern parents, and at times I thought he was a big old crab, but at the same time, what he did spent with us? Was a lot of his time. He talked to us, listened to us, hugged and wrastled with us, he would sit on the floor with us and share a giant plate of cut-up tomatoes, and we would fight over the last one, and that kind of thing. 

He worked weird shifts, so most of my childhood memories are with my dad, while my mom was at one of her jobs. We did a lot of things that didn't cost money, like picnics in the front room, walks to the park, he would throw us into dumpsters to look for treasure, true story. 

The point is, he took us everywhere, probably just because he didn't want to pay a babysitter, but he still did it. He even took us to weddings that were "adult only" on the invitation.

What it taught me was the old cliche expression, which is mostly true, that children want your presence more than presents.

The point I'm trying to make is, take a note from my 'had way too many kids' parents: Any time of year, try to embrace that which makes you and your family happy. It's perfectly okay to skip some things some year if those things are going to cause more stress.

I am not a huge fan of traditions, our lives change so much, we always have to change them. I also try to be very realistic about which traditions do NOT make us happy. Ever. Any year. 

If, for example, I forced my family to go Christmas caroling, it would make me so crabby I would be yelling, and so drunk I couldn't drive. That wouldn't make happy memories. Why do it? 

There are just certain things I can't force myself to do. 

Just some things I can't even.
from persephonemagazine.com

There is nothing wrong if you like these things, you are welcome to voice your opinions in a reasonable manner in the comments. 

Some traditional holiday doings are just not for me. 

For us? We're all better off if we skip:

Elf on the Shelf
My husband and I will forget, it's just another thing to do, and I feel children should be afraid of ME, rather than a jolly, bearded man on the opposite end of the earth. We'll pass. 

I do enjoy the parental elf shenanigans, until about mid-December, and then I'm OVER IT.

St. Nicolas Day
See above. My kids don't need another day of candy or toys. Growing up, we put our shoes outside our door, someone left CANDY in them. In our gross, smelly shoes, and my brothers and I had no idea why, who St. Nick was, what he did that made him famous, and how he was different from Santa. 

Show me a day where kids have to MAKE something, instead of GETTING something. I'll call it "Elf Day" and the kids get to wear pointy hats and make gifts for the family.

Horrible Christmas movies 
Of course I am not including any cartoons, clay-mation specials or National Lampoons products.

Duh. I'm under 80, and I'm with Aunt Edna. 

from Fridayfunfact.wordpress.com
"...you were the ones that sent me the fruitcake for Christmas. It made me SO SICK.

"We're sorry, we thought you enjoyed fruit cake."

"You enjoy throwing up every 5 minutes, Claude?"

"That's Clark."

"I thought so!"

I want to say "Figgy pudding"
but I haven't tried it, nor do I know what it is. 

Getting my kids the "it" gift that year
This is a punch right to the soul. Mayhap I will change my mind when my girls are older, but for now? I'm not trampling people, or paying extra for this year's most popular hunk of plastic just because Britney B and Hayley C have it. Pass. 

My gift to you is my time, I stay home and watch other people's annoying kids to help pay for groceries. No, you cannot exchange that gift. If you desire something else, see the Grandpa Eddie file of answers:
"Get a job." 
Find a new one for your brother while you're at it.

FYI: Gpa E's #1 saying:
"Suffer quietly."
This works with almost everything.

Pictures with a mall Santa 
I just can't. I tried one year, and my son's meltdown melted down all possible future desire to Can. 
Christmas pajamas 
I'm not saying they're not adorable, of course they are. Especially on my adorable girls. It makes me insanely unhappy to spend any hard-earned money for any item, especially clothing for growing children, they can only wear at a certain time of year. I file these with "guest towels" and "decorative soap" under: NOPE.

That said, if I do find them at a low price at resale/Goodwill, (even Halloween clothes,) yes, I get them.

Caroling, or anything Dickensian
as it makes me want to violently vomit. Do you enjoy throwing up, Claude? I thought so.

Any show "on ice." 
Again, if you like it, awesome. You don't have to tell me. I like a lot of really raunchy things, so if you try to convince me on this one, I will barrage you with a shitstorm of increasingly disturbing jokes. Because that's what I like, and it's my America too. 
from the giflibrary.com
I don't enjoy musicals, crowds, lines, ice, being cold, throwing up, or anything that costs $50-$100 per ticket, especially something INSIDE that is COLD. I don't get it, so....PASS.

Sometimes parents in the 70's and 80's had just the right idea with their philosophy:
"Because we said so."
End of discussion.

I probably sound like a binch,
which is a term for a female bitch grinch that I just made up, but knowing my own limits is key to our happiness. 

Call it a survival technique, it's also a smart move. On an airplane, when the oxygen masks fall, they tell parents to put their own masks on first. Our instinct is KIDS First, but if you can't breathe, you can't be very comforting to your children. I should have that embroidered on something.

Not pushing myself too far keeps me at least partially sober, mostly sane, and no one gets assaulted year after successful year. 

And THAT is what our holidays are about in Comfytown. Avoiding assault charges. Oh, and being happy.

There are lots of traditions I can get behind, most of them contain the word "spiked" but I think that should probably be another post.
from thatswhatchesaid.net
Are there any traditions you are definitely PRO or AGAINST?


  1. we do santa...we do the santa picture...For us its about keeping the magic alive and fun...thats about it...

    1. Santa at a portrait place? Or at a mall in a loooong line? I mean, your call either way, just curious.
      I do want them to have magic, and believe, and be CHILDREN for as long as possible, that's for sure. You only get that once in life.
      But the picture after the long line, then walking up to a bearded stranger....right now my kids see Santa and start crying. I just can't put us through that. My husband tried, she cried her head off, and he gave up too. Maybe when they're older ? Who knows.

  2. I refuse to do any Xmas baking but I will glad eat other people's.

    1. Sounds like a good plan to me!
      I'm hoping when my kids are a little bigger, I can talk them into baking things for me, and to give as gifts!

  3. I love this! I don't have an Elf on the Shelf either. I'm not sure how I feel about it. Here are my feelings on traditions - Pro: Eggnog martinis - equal parts eggnog, caramel vodka, and Kahlua. You're welcome Also, Nigella Lawson's chocolate gingerbread. I actually go to a British goods store and buy treacle and golden syrup to make it. Then, lest you think I'm getting all Martha Stewart on you, I make up for it by buying all of my kids' stocking stuffers at the dollar store, which brings me to my Against: too many gifts for kids. Mine are so little that they will be excited about ANY presents, big or small.

    1. I love everything about that! I've never tried treacle, but they mentioned in Harry Potter, so it sounds worth a try.
      Dollar Store is the bomb dot com. Forever and always.

  4. I'm with you on the Spiked Tradtions for sure! I also agree with most everything here. Bah Humbug! The Binch and the Grinch.

    Don't get me started on all the annoying holiday songs which I blogged about today.

    1. I read that, and you make a good point, mayhaps we wouldn't be SO SICK of these songs if they didn't start playing the same songs over and over and OVER right after Halloween!

  5. HA!! I love this. I actually have no clue about any of those traditions. I have seen the elf on the shelf thing but I don't get it. NO clue on the concept of it. I NEVER do the mall Santa. WAY too much stress. I will buy Christmas pj's but my kids are wearing that shit all year! I don't care if it's the 4th of july....put on those santa pants dammitt!!! I am definitely a binch too. I am not all about traditions. I put a tree and let the kides put stuff on it. They literally twisted a bunch of pipe cleaners and put them on the tree. That is the majority of the ornaments on our tree. I couldn't even tell you what the "it" toy for the year is. I make my kids watch Doctor who with me, so all they want for christmas is their own dalek!! BTW...you had an awesome childhood. Your Dad sounds like a cool cat!! What a great man for giving you the gift of his presence. The most important thing any time of year.

    1. Ha I'm picturing a tree with pipe cleaners and it looks amazing.
      My or man had his moments but he was fairly racist until he got older and must have been trying to get into heaven or something. He could be a really mean drunk too. Or he could be Mr. Funny Guy.

    2. Dude.....the mean drunk part sounds like my dad. I think in the 70's all dad's were mean drunks. It was like the stipulation for being a dad in the 70's. You had to have stupid hair, and be a mean drunk...then you could be a dad!! I was not close to my dad at all. It never really happened. I think it's awesome that you were able to at least see another side of him.

      And seriously....the pipe cleaners are the way to go. You can actually see it in my last video. There was a scene where I was standing next to the tree and there is pipe cleaners sticking out. haha Easy Peasy!!! I give them a handful and say go to town!! Then go and have a glass of ANYTHING!! ;)

  6. Seeing Santa at the mall is hit or miss. I kind of love that I got pics of both my babies crying on Santa's lap - classic! Some years I want to bake, some years no. This year I'm going to. I agree with you on how our lives changes so keeping up the same traditions every year can be impractical. Totally get that!

    1. That's good, going with the flow and keeping the family happy. That's what is most important.

  7. I think that traditions should serve the purpose of the family, not the other way around. Our traditions: an advent calendar--each day we add another piece to a nativity scene; baking, then caroling and taking goodie plates to the neighbors; reading from Luke 2 on Christmas Eve. Some years we make gingerbread houses, some years we read a Christmas story each day in December until Christmas, some years we drive to see the lights.

    1. You're right. As the kids get older, some things should change also if they don't enjoy them as much and/or if everyone's really busy that year, etc.

  8. Yeah, I didn't have a list when I was a kid either. I just asked for the one thing I really wanted and hopefully got it. I have a friend whose kid is going to get a $500 iPad for Christmas. Damn. Santa won't even bring me a $500 iPad and I'm an adult who's (mostly) been good.

    1. That's crazy to me. They are just going to have to keep topping that year after year. Hopefully the kid appreciates it, and still values everything.

  9. Our family's tradition is hiding out in our house and hunkering down until the madness is over! We prepare by stocking up with supplies super duper early in the season (think hurricane preparedness)! But it means cuddling up by a fireplace with hot chocolate plus holiday music and movies and NO other people (because I can't even!). Basically we pretend we are in a secluded cabin in the woods when we are smack dab in the middle of suburbia!

    1. You are a genius! THAT is a tradition I can get behind. It's always in my brain to stock up, I HATE having to go to a store on a holiday. Not just for the whole "let the workers be with their family" jazz, but also I don't want to be fighting the crabby last-minute shoppers!

  10. I think a Christmas morning mimosa and watching the kid open his gifts is about our only "tradition". This is his second Christmas and has yet to have a picture with Santa.. I cant justify paying $20 for one picture when half the time he is the sweetest boy ever, and the other half he is the devil child himself.. I dont like those odds for a picture, and I like the cost even less. The elf on a shelf sounds good in theory, but I think I would get bored too..plus he isnt even 2 so he wouldnt be all that excited to see it. And your "Binch" definition.... I read it to Chad out loud and he said it sounded like me lol

    1. I'm the same with the mall Santa. At least we were such big binches that we didn't enjoy the holidays! I saw your gorgeous hand-made gifts, that's amazing and a really nice, personal touch!

    2. ha ha right! Thank you! It took me all weekend before Christmas... but I guess in hindsight it's not that long to make everything lol Next year I am starting in October with all that crap! I love Christmas time... just hate getting ready for it! ;)

    3. Same! I used to start getting gifts for my huge family in the SUMMER! It would spread out the costs and some of the stress in December. Then some years I had forgotten what I got earlier and wound up with WAY TOO MUCH!

    4. ha ha! That would be me! I started getting things for Braylon in November, then he had more than I remember buying (luckily most was from the dollar store), but we dont really do big gifts for ourself, and he is our only one... so its okay for now :D

  11. I am so not into the elf. He's creepy, weird, and my kid wouldn't "get" him anyway. HAHA to the mannequin flipping off the camera! A bored mall worker? Holiday shopper? Awesome. We failed the santa photo a couple years ago and haven't bothered with the lines since. I agree with the other Mother's Day! Tell me where to sign up! Happy hohoho!

    1. It was MY SON who positioned the mannequins hands into the bird! That's why I took a picture. He's funny.
      Maybe I should start a petition for a late December/January Mother's Day II!

  12. Oh Joy,
    You even have a holiday name and yet, you sum all of the bullshit up so hilariously. Yes, I am a #LeonDay late to this post but I am bookmarking for future reference. Binch, please! Imma gonna pee myself over this one. You are truly gifted and I am your newest fangirl. It's my America, too.

    1. I'm so glad you liked it! I wanted to leave you a link to it, but I didn't want to be Spam Anderson.
      I love the "Binch please!" that might have to be a Tshirt in the future!
      That, or "Binches are People Too" hahaha