It's Christmas! My most favourite time of the year! It's time to decorate the house, shop, bake and decorate cookies, go to the Christmas tree lighting, shop, write letters to Santa, shop, do Christmas crafts with the kids, go to the Santa parades, SHOP AGAIN...and it's not even DECEMBER YET!!!
I have always loved Christmas but having kids has brought a whole new excitement and frenzy to the holidays. I want to make sure we incorporate all of the old family traditions and also create new ones. Not to mention the traditions that clever corporations have made up and told us we must do.
*PSSST, YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT, I'M LOOKING AT YOU MR. ELF ON THE SHELF*
As I was sorting out our Christmas plans this year though I started feeling stressed about the list of "traditional moments" I had collected over the last few years that I now needed to create for the kids. It started to feel longer than Santa's list of Trump's naughty deeds. The pressure was weighing me down and preventing me from actually looking forward to the season like I used to. I felt that if I missed one of these moments I would fail to provide a magical Christmas for my kids.
And then I realized...
I'M A TRADITION HOARDER.
That's right, I scroll through my social feeds and see all these "great ideas" and keep adding tradition after tradition to our life in order to feel like I'm giving my kids the best holiday EVAH.
Kindness Advent Calendar? For sure! Make a new personalized Christmas ornament with the kids each year? Oh yeah. Find matching Christmas jammies for the whole family? Sign me up! And YES to ALL THE REINDEER AND SNOWMEN COOKIES!
And once you start a tradition, you can't stop right? That's the very definition of a tradition. You do it every single year.
I jam traditions into every corner of our life over the Christmas season and just pray no one opens that cupboard door and has a pile of mismatched traditions fall out on them (because, really, who needs a gingerbread house, a gingerbread train and gingerbread men cookies - one gingerbread tradition should be enough!!!).
I know I'm not alone out there in this. Parents of young kids are the worst offenders at this. We want to do ALL THE CHRISTMAS THINGS every year and end up burning ourselves out before the kids are in school.
It's time I face facts and purge some traditions from our life.
I NEED TO KONMARI OUR CHRISTMAS.
I need to throw all of the traditions into the centre of the room (and by this I mean make a spreadsheet, cause that's how I roll) and then ask myself those all-important questions, even more applicable this time of year, "Does it bring me JOY?" “Where does this tradition fall on the barometer of stress versus happiness?”
Perfect example: Packing up the whole family one evening to go to the tree lot in our community and pick out a Christmas tree. Is it really fun to bring both small children to this? It's cold, it's dark, it takes too long to pick out a tree, the kids get whiny, and (sorry, kids) they really add no value to the process. In fact, they usually pick a bare tree that is either too short or too tall for our space and then cry when we don't agree with their suggestion. They don't know what they're doing. They're not qualified for this job. So, BAM, that tradition has been KonMari'd and is now CUT (pardon the chopped tree pun in there somewhere). We'll get our tree sans children this year and they can enjoy it in our house.
I'M GOING TO CHANNEL THE SPIRIT OF BAD MOM, THE CHRISTMAS VERSION.
I'm forcing myself to cut out the stuff I don't really want to do. I'm turning this whole season upside down on its head and getting down to brass tacks. I'm only going to keep the traditions we really really want, eliminate the ones we don't care for, add ones we think up or want to try and, if it doesn't look like any Christmas we've ever had before, well that's okay.
Maybe we'll have grilled cheese sandwiches for Christmas Day dinner and skip the turkey because the kids don't even LIKE turkey; maybe instead of opening presents first thing in the morning we go for a family walk and enjoy the calm before the craziness starts; maybe we bake carrot cake instead of gingerbread men (okay, that one's a lie, I hate carrot cake. Gingerbread men stay).
Whatever we do end up doing will ultimately make it unique and special for our family though. When they look back on their childhood they won't see the exact replica of every other kid in their generation. They may not even see the same things each year. They'll see us and what is important to us about Christmas.
DO YOU HAVE A CHRISTMAS TRADITION HOARDING PROBLEM TOO? WHAT CHRISTMAS TRADITION WOULD YOU LIKE TO ELIMINATE FROM YOUR LIFE?