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|
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.
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.
"We're sorry, we thought you enjoyed fruit cake."
"You enjoy throwing up every 5 minutes, Claude?"
"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:
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.
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.
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|
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,
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.