Twenty years ago, a ten-year-old girl entered a holiday writing contest for the local newspaper. The theme was “What Christmas Means to Me,” and the entry was mandatory for her fifth-grade class. In typical “me” fashion, I’m sure I sat down the night before it was due and threw some words on paper to just scrape on by. (And now I wonder why my kids do this as well.) The kicker came when we found out I had taken first place for my age group. My first published piece of writing.
I stumbled across that piece of writing not too long ago and had to laugh at the simplicity of my response:
It means spending time with our family, exchanging presents, and creating memories. It is a time to rejoice, give thanks, and love.
Amen, little girl.
How did I have it figured out back then, but now as a mom, I feel more pressure than ever? The world would change a lot over the next twenty years. Becoming a mother has caused me to view the holiday season a bit differently.
My kids are pretty average in the “wants” department. Yet, I still find myself wanting to keep up with other parents so that they are not discouraged when the break comes to an end. They don’t ask for much, but as you fellow moms of tweens know, the items at this age can be expensive. We set a budget in place every year, but are hoping this might finally be the year we stick to it. I want them to enjoy digging into gifts under the tree. But at the same time, not be overwhelmed with the number of items that will also come from grandparents, aunts, and uncles, etc.
I made a goal for myself to just slow down earlier this year.
Less stuff, more experiences. If my ten-year-old self was satisfied with the simplicity of the holiday season…decorating, baking, being with family…can I not carry that on to my own children? Spending more time being creative instead of buying the items that steal away from our potential memories. Setting aside evenings for Christmas movies, and a weekend to bake all of our favorite treats. Teaching them about how great it feels to give, and driving around to view lights in our neighborhood.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in this Pinterest-inspired society that we live in. We want to post the perfect pictures of our decorated homes, buy everyone the perfect gift, and make each year one to remember. But in all reality, is the stress of the season truly worth it? For me, it’s not. I’m going to treasure my homemade gifts that were created with love, and indulge in my favorite holiday cookies. We’re opening our home to both sides of the family this year, for the mere purpose of getting everyone together.
Relax, mamas. The holidays might be coming quickly, but you are under zero pressure to make sure they’re perfect. And in reality, we all have different perspectives of perfect anyway.