Permission to say NOPE at Christmastime

I am the santa, the elves, and the magic.

I am the delicious smells, the stuffed bellies, and the Christmas spirit.

I am the twinkle lights, the clean bathrooms, and the mistletoe hanging in the doorway.

I am the stories, the advent calendars, and the reminding what Christmas is really about.

I am the greeting cards, I am the coordinator of grandparents and cousins, I am the christmas pajamas for the night before.

I am the traditions, I am the baker for school sales, I am the buyer of last minute presents that were forgotten.

And now I’m tired.

I am mom.

It’s not something my husband or my kids put on me, it’s my own deal. It’s also a tinsel covered baton handed down from generation to generation of women. As a kid I just thought the warm fuzzy feelings I felt on Christmas morning “happened”.

Now I know that the magic happens because someone is working their ass off, and now that someone is me.

The other day I stumbled upon someone’s Christmas list of todo’s online and the list about gave me an anxiety attack. It wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before, and it wasn’t anything that hasn’t been on my own mental list. I also know that some people thrive off of powering through the holidays like a Christmas fairy godmother. If that’s you, I salute you, but I’d rather hide under my bed that do all of that.

It caused me to think, what is important to me and my family and what isn’t?

I’m sentimental. I love to see my kids’ eyes light up when they see the tree. I LOVE buying gifts for my kids and I’m possibly more excited than them when it comes time to rip them open. It makes my heart explode like Will Farrell with Christmas spirit.

I love watching Christmas movies and eating cookies with sprinkles.

I love Christmas drinks and Christmas food.

Christmases were always special growing up and I want to recreate that magic for my kids, but I  don’t want to sacrifice my presence for facilitating a perfect holiday. I don’t want to work myself so hard I make myself sick (I’ve done that).

I want to be there too. I want to enjoy it. I want to breathe it in and laugh because I’m not stressed about getting the floor swept before people arrive. I think that actually matters to my kids more than if I made homemade cinnamon rolls.

The gift I want to give myself this year is the gift of saying NOPE.

The gift I want to give my family is the gift of saying NOPE.

The gift I want to give is the gift of myself being present instead of stressed.

This is 20 friggin’ 17. We are beyond the era of susie-homemaker. We get to choose what we will and won’t do.

We don’t have to go to every party.

We don’t have to be a part of every gift exchange.

We don’t have to make every dish under the sun for Christmas dinner.

We don’t have to go to every house.

We don’t have to rush our own Christmas morning to get to the grandparents.

We don’t have to buy our kids everything they want or what their friends might be getting.

We don’t have to make that last minute run to Target (speaking to myself here) because we’re suddenly worried there’s not enough stocking stuffers.

We don’t have to send a gift to every person we love. I LOVE GIVING GIFTS, but when it starts to become a financial and mental strain I don’t think it’s worth it. It’s missing the point.

I have no plans to be the grinch or to cancel my favorite parts of Christmas because it’s too much work, but I do plan to give myself permission to say NOPE to the things that don’t bring me (or my family) joy.

Christmas magic is really about the being together, isn’t it? It’s about the cozy morning (or evening) filled with generosity and thoughtfulness. Maybe it’s handmade gifts, maybe it’s not. It’s about staying in your pajamas as long as possible. It’s about having strong coffee because you stayed up too late wrapping.

It’s about being present.

If you want to go to the parties then do that, if you want to make an extravagant dinner then do that, but the magic is what we make it, and we get to choose.

I surrender to these holidays whatever they may look like.

They will not be perfect, because folks, I’m no longer going to try and make them that way.

Merry Christmas Mamas, let’s enjoy the holidays this year.

***

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17 thoughts on “Permission to say NOPE at Christmastime

  1. Jo

    I love love love Christmas. And I love making magic, but you’re right. It’s time to say NOPE sometimes so that I can enjoy the magic too. Great post!

  2. Sadie Mills

    Dear Wonderoak, I love your blogs. They resonate with me so much. So agree with everything you say and Hi Five for being so honest and open with your feelings. Wishing you and your family a wonderful relaxed messy fun filled warm and cosy Christmas. I intend to do the same here in Ibiza. Big love, Mama Sades ❤️

  3. Sharon

    You are wise beyond your years! Great reminder to stop & enjoy the magic we create. Embrace the joy, the love, and sprinkle in some peace😉

  4. Liz

    I love this blog post so hard! Growing up, we had to go to more than the homes of our grandparents (we actually went to both sides of the family and still do, Mom and Dad’s), then it would be off to three other places afterward. It was always so exhausting and we got to enjoy our family time, but then when we were forced to go elsewhere, we were always so tired and just wanting to go home to enjoy our gifts. It would end up being a 12 or 13 hour day for us, if not more. I am not going to raise my son this way and I do live 1300 miles from my family, but I will go to the two family homes and be done with it.

  5. Coranda

    So sad to read this you completly missed Christ Who is the reason for Christmas. Enjoy and love your family, say nope to the materialism and social pressure, great but maybe just call it a family holiday….

  6. wonderoak

    This right here is why people don’t like Christians. I am a person who loves Jesus, but the true “sad thing” is this comment. It’s rude and has zero to do with the true meaning of Christmas.

  7. Haley

    I love being a Christmas fairy godmother but this year I decided to say NOPE! A fabulous local restaurant is offering Christmas dinner – all I have to do is order it and pick it up on our way home from the ski hill! Every year I want to go skiing with my family on Christmas, it never happens! We end up having brunch which finishes around noon and then I am in the kitchen for the rest of the day. No tobogganing with the kids. Not playing with their toys that Santa was so excited to bring. Not being present. Thank you so much for this reminder, happy holidays! xo

  8. annaleethomasson

    PREACH IT SISTER! I hit this point this year, and cancelled our 12-hour drive for Christmas. The planning to travel on top of everything else had me hating Christmas before it was even Christmas so I said NOPE! We’re staying home! LOVE this! Thanks for sharing!

  9. FeistyIrishWench

    It took the arrival of our 4th child in September and her being exclusively breastfed, every hour for us to finally not travel for holidays. The The hour trip would have become 8 or 10. I hated the work of traveling, not seeing my side of the family at all, not sharing my family’s traditions with the kids, and the fiscal game trying to catch up in January and February. I legitimately grinched out every single year, and it got worse the longer I worked in a retail environment. It has been several years, and we’ve been able to enjoy them more each year. And the youngest kids no longer have the grinch mom the big kid’s saw.

  10. Tonya

    Coranda,
    I actually feel that God was talking to her and telling her it is time to slow down. I also believe you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything. Ascivwas reading this I felt God’s love coming thru liud and clear to me.

  11. Annette

    Thank you for this! It’s just what I needed to read!!
    This year I realized how much pressure and stress the holidays can bring and decided to say NOPE and not buy into what everyone else is doing and keeping up with the family traditions with my own children. My husband and daughters are just taking it easy this year and hoping to go on a cruise next year this time around to get away from the pressure of Christmas

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