Sometimes I can muster the energy, enthusiasm and creativity to earn a You Are Awesome! sticker as a mom. Christmas is one of those times when I max myself out trying to create holiday wonder and merriment. Last year, I created a daily advent calendar for the kids filled with fun activities and adventures, from basic things like watching Christmas movies to the more elaborate, like driving around town blaring holiday music and wearing Santa hats and dumping change into every Salvation Army bell ringer bucket we could find.
Adeline and Crosby started getting excited for this year’s advent calendar the moment we concluded last year’s calendar. We are on Day Three of the 2015 Advent Calendar and I am already cursing myself for starting this tradition that I will likely have to produce for at least another decade.
I started out strong this year, fired up to get our Christmas on and merry the crap out of December. I spent almost 2 of the 7 precious hours I have to myself setting up an artificial Christmas tree in the kids’ bedroom because what kid doesn’t want their very own illuminated tree to fall asleep to? And they’re finally old enough to be trusted with a fake Christmas tree adorned in child-safe ornaments. Any other year,
Crosby someone surely would have been electrocuted or attempted climbing it.
And it was magical. Seeing their smiling faces in the soft glow of the tree as they excitedly hung every ornament laid out for them made it so worth the effort and time.
They were peaceful. Happy. Merry and joyful. For at least 15 minutes.
And then they started discussing what could be next. What other wonderful things had Mommy dreamed up for them? Because if the very first day brought their own personal Christmas tree, then certainly things will only get more impressive as the advent calendar enchanted all the days leading to Christmas Eve.
“They’re probably going to be pretty disappointed by the $1 pair of Christmas socks they get tomorrow,” I thought to myself. But so be it. If they can’t see the magic in cheap socks covered in gingerbread men, that’s their problem.
On the days leading up to the blessed advent calendar, I spent hours planning and scheduling Christmas-themed science experiments, scavenger hunts, games, crafts and holiday activities for my kids, all while cursing the Elf on the Shelf that lurked in our basement, waiting to be presented as a gift from St. Nick, who would require additional brainstorming and clever and zany shenanigans for it to get into. I was irritated by a holiday that turned me into a Pinterest-aholic overachiever.
And that’s when I realized Christmas is only as hard and stressful and work-filled as I allow and that the warm fuzzy memories I was intent on creating didn’t need much coaxing this time of year. And that what my kids really wanted was a happy, even-keeled mom, not a stressed-out, grumpy mom, even if that means their weird, creepy elf doesn’t participate in all the kooky antics of its peers. Maybe Addy and Crosby’s elf is just really mellow. Maybe he’s the type of elf that likes to chill on the mantel by the fire with a glass of wine and not move around much at all. I mean, after all, there is still a goddamn elf in their house sent by Santa. That’s pretty friggin magical in itself.
Here are 3 Elf on the Shelf ideas I feel I can accomplish without becoming overwhelmed.
Whatever these next couple of weeks hold for you, I hope your holiday season brings a few special moments and that a small, weird elf does not suddenly appear in your home hanging from a fan in your underwear.
- The First Grader
- To My Fourth Child