Are you a mom who secretly hates holidays? Have you done holidays for little kids so many years that you are feeling more than just a little holiday burnout? For all those moms who loathe the thought of trick-or-treating, and don’t necessarily love wrapping a hundred gifts at Christmas anymore, you are not alone. Personally, this mom would love to take a hiatus from holidays for a year. Or two. After nearly twenty years of making holidays special for little ones, I have had enough.
Confession: I hate trick-or-treating. Additionally, I feel like a liar for keeping up the charade of Santa and the Easter Bunny, and since I don’t believe that the “first” Thanksgiving was anything like what we have been indoctrinated to believe our whole lives, I don’t feel inclined to spend 8 hours as a prisoner of my kitchen every year in order to reenact some made up event! Whew! There, I’ve said it. Laid it out there for all the world to see. My deep, dark secret: I am a mom who hates holidays. I didn’t always hate holidays. I think I could still enjoy Christmas if it didn’t involve so much stress and extra work. But for others like me; those moms out there who are suffering burnout and dreading the holiday season, here are a few suggestions to make the holidays a little less stressful.
Find a trick-or-treating alternative – Last year, H1N1 hit our neighborhood, and surrounding neighborhoods, really hard the week before Halloween. Since I knew that a ton of families were going to be letting their sick kids hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, I decided my kids were not going to be among those trick-or-treaters (Trick-or-treat you say? Sure, here’s a Snickers…plus Swine Flu! Yeah, no thanks.) Instead, we bought a bunch of candy, let the kids have a bowl in each of their bedrooms, and let them go trick-or-treating at each others’ doors. To our surprise, they had a blast and told us it was the best Halloween ever. So, this year, we are doing the same thing. The added benefits are many. We spent less on costumes. I could control how much candy my kids were getting, and avoid the types of candy I don’t want them eating. We didn’t have to go out in the cold. We weren’t on the road with drunk Halloween partiers. No dragging sleeping preschoolers out of their carseats and into the house. No checking 1,000 pieces of candy to make sure none were laced with poison or injected with razor blades. Really, the list goes on. If you hate trick-or-treating, consider staying in and having your own relaxing Halloween fun at home.
Don’t cook Thanksgiving dinner – Last year, as I finished up 8 hours of cooking and 3 hours of subsequent cleaning, I told my family that this year I was going to take the year off. And I am. I am not cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. I have turned down invites from extended family. I am going to order a turkey dinner from a local grocery store, and I am going to actually relax on Thanksgiving Day. Someone is going to serve me for a change. I am thankful every day, and don’t feel the need to be chained to my kitchen for an entire day to prove it. If the thought of Thanksgiving Day has you cringing, try easing some of your burden. After all, it’s a day to be thankful, and it’s tough to do that when you feel exhausted and resentful.
Simplify Christmas – Our oldest child is 18, and our youngest is nearly 6. We have two more in the middle. Needless to say, we’ve been doing the little-kid-holiday thing for a long, long time. It is still really important to me that my kids have very special stockings and a few fun gifts, but I have scaled way back in recent years. I focus more now on the “season” of Christmas; we drink lots of hot chocolate, we watch Polar Express a dozen times, we drive around to see Christmas lights on houses. But I am not buying a ton of gifts this year. My kids don’t need them, and I do not want to spend countless hours shopping with people who are miserable, rude, and also suffering from the flu. I also don’t want to spend three days wrapping presents, after weeks of having no closet space because that’s where I’ve had to hide all those presents. If any of these feelings ring true for you as well, consider simplifying Christmas this year. Pick out the Christmas traditions that are most meaningful, and forget the rest. If you can cut out the things you dread the most, you may have a chance of actually enjoying the holiday yourself.
Hopefully, after attempts to make the holidays less stressful for yourself, you will find that you actually get to enjoy them again.