As a child, my holidays were a red and green blur of pure, unadulterated joy. As a young adult, I spent my holidays fielding questions about hairstyles and love interests. As a married adult, the holidays meant declaring a side of the family to spend Christmas Day with (thus enduring a year of angry eyes from the forsaken grandmother) and fielding questions about when I’d finally start having kids.
Now that I have kids, it’s a whole new ballgame. Sure, I want my holidays to look like a real-life Hallmark movie, but we all know that’s a sham. Here are my tips for making it through the most wonderful time of the year:
- Take the DIY approach with Christmas cards. Choose a favorite photo of yourself and let your kids draw in themselves and your spouse.
- Got a picky eater? Bust out the blender and flex your smoothie making skills. (I hear you can add kale to these.) You’ll need it after a steady stream of holiday meals in which your child only eats the rolls.
- For the stubborn baby who won’t go to sleep, give him a candy cane and then a Kleenex for clean-up. You can thank my grandfather for that one.
- Steel yourself for the moment when your kids dismissively toss aside the present you visited four stores to find because it was sold out online. (Also: don’t shop the week before Christmas.)
- Visualize your perfect holiday gathering, activity, photo shoot, etc. — but add tears, a few thrown punches and a blowout diaper. This way, you won’t be disappointed.
At the end of the day, cut yourself and your family some slack. And next year, book an escape to a sandy beach in the Caribbean.
Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer, editor and mother of two boys.