My kids and I were at the library the other day. Blocks were being built, book pages were being turned, little ones crawled and ran around everywhere. I was sitting in close proximity to a group of three moms as they chatted about the hectic nature of this season & holiday stress. “We love the Advent season. It is such a sweet time for our family, but it is also so crazy! Santa visits, shopping for so many people, finding a sitter for my husband’s awful work party…” She went on and as she did, the happy glow that she started her statement with had turned to a shrugging of the shoulders. She ended with a sigh, “But ’tis the season, right?”
The next day I was working at a vendor fair and got to chatting with the woman set up next to me. There was a cute little inflatable elf next to us with a sign that read “Take a selfie with the elfie. #elfieselfie” We played along and then got to chatting about the Elf of the Shelf craze. I was mortified when she told me that she had gotten a call from the mother of one of her son’s classmates regarding said elf. “You know, everyone else in the class does elf on a shelf and it is a shame that you don’t as well. Your son is left out when everyone is talking about it. You really ought to get the elf and play along.”
Fellow mommas, if you are into Elf on The Shelf and you enjoy shopping til you drop and standing in line to meet Santa 10 times is your jam – rock it! Take in all of the hustle and bustle and you go for it. Deck those halls, go to all the parties, swap the cookies, and give all the gifts. But if it isn’t? If doing half of those things leaves you feeling overwhelmed and empty – you don’t have to do it. You can choose something quieter, simpler, slower paced. Sure, there is pressure everywhere we turn, from women at the library, women from your son’s school, and even from your own kiddos! The commercialization and craziness that surrounds this time of year can be quite out of hand, but the beautiful thing is, we don’t have to do it!
We get to write the script and decide what is best for our family. Likely we will not always get it right and perhaps our little ones won’t be thrilled about it in the here and now, but we have next year to try again and adjust where needed! It is hard to say no when you feel pressured by your children or your in-laws or your daughter’s girl scout troop, but at the end of the day – when we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to another.
So today, if you are feeling burdened by your holiday to-do list, if you are wondering how on earth you will get it all done and afford all the things, take a deep breath. You don’t need to get it all done and buy all of the things. Regroup, rearrange and go forward with what really matters for your family.