Saturday, November 26, 2011

Keeping the Holidays Manageable

We had a very nice Thanksgiving. My parents drove down from northern Minnesota to be with us, and this year, at the dinner table, when discussing what they are thankful for, my girls actually included mention of family/parents. This is notable because, in previous years, they've typically spouted haphazard lists of things like "Snoopy," or "snow," or "candy." I guess at seven and five you realize that in the grand scheme of things, not being an orphan is more important than sugar or cartoon characters. Just barely, though. Genevieve did also say that she's thankful for TV. ("Because otherwise, I wouldn't have anything to WATCH!" Indeed.)

Now that the holiday season is fully upon us, I think it's a good time to revisit the piece I wrote for BlogHer last year at around this time: Steps for a Smaller, Saner Holiday Season. Enjoy, and consider NOW how you're going to keep your wits about you for the next month, as you wrangle children through tree trimming and house decorating and party planning and sledding and cookie baking and gift shopping and school concerts and ice skating and holiday get-togethers and trips to see grandma and grandpa, all while you attend to the day-to-day schedule and your family's basic needs.

I always say that, in most families, it's mom who's in charge of "throwing" the holidays, like you throw a party--it's just that this party lasts for a good five or six weeks. It can be exhausting, but when you have kids it's also extraordinarily fun and rewarding, both because you want them to experience all the best of the season and because children appreciate and enjoy things so incredibly much, even the tiny, simple things--in every fiber of their little beings. It really does cause you to experience things differently, too.

So, go forth and eat the rest of that pumpkin pie. You're going to need the energy, mamas.


Mnmom said...

I'm with you - until the possibility of a week long visit from my in-laws was offered as an option.

Now I feel my blood pressure rising and my resentment growing. While we have great fun with them, there are SIX of them. In my tiny house. And they think I'm being disrespectful to them if I don't make fresh homemade meals. Three times a day. For 11 people. In my barely trailer-sized kitchen.

AND they are clean freaks. And I mean CLEAN. So my entire December will be spent cleaning every nook and cranny, while planning menus, and wrapping gifts we can't afford. Which will leave no time for the Holiday things I DO enjoy. Oh, and add my new full-time job to that too.

Now I just want it all to go away. I'm so mad.

Shannon said...

@Mnmom: Gah! OMG! Argh! OK, I don't have any other horrified-sound words to type, other than those three. But I am horrified for you. Srsly, that would kill me. You can't cook for 11 people in your kitchen! That's insanity!

Rita said...

I've decided to focus on the "magic" of Christmas this year. I have a feeling this will be the last year William believes in Santa.

Oh great. Now I'm crying just TYPING that fact.

Shannon said...

I know what you mean, Rita. Julia and William are the same age, and I think this will be her last year of believing, too. Great, now I'M tearing up. Thanks a lot! ;) xoxo

Mnmom said...

And I've decided to just feed them whatever works, even if it's frozen pizza, and let the chips fall where they may. If they hate me, so be it