I feel like I should be merry and bright and show my children a holly jolly Christmas like my mom did for me. Instead, each year I feel even more frustrated, depressed, and angry about the holidays.
Aren’t the holidays supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? Then why are we all so miserable? I didn’t talk to a single person in my immediate circle who was having fun this holiday season.
As a child, Christmas was something wonderful — a warm and magical time driven by the holiday spirit my mother brought to the family. She baked Christmas cookies with names like Santa’s Whiskers and Martha Washingtons. My mom made sure my sister and I had holiday crafts to make, like Christmas chains so we could count down to Jesus’ special day.
My father was always the Scrooge of the house. He wouldn’t let us listen to Christmas music and couldn’t give a Santa’s ass about anything related to the holidays. It is safe to say that he detested it, but it never detracted from my magical childhood Christmas.
Fast forward 30 years and now I’m the parent who feels pressure to give my children the magical Christmas every year. But the truth is that the last couple of years I have grown very despondent about the holidays. I have guilt about this because I feel like I should be merry and bright and show my children a holly jolly Christmas like my mom did for me. Instead, each year I feel even more frustrated, depressed, and angry about the holidays.
I assume my negative attitude about Christmas is because of one of two things: either my dad’s Scrooge gene was passed down to me, or I have had enough of all of the bullshit surrounding the holidays.
Here Are 10 Reasons I Will Be Out of Town Next Holiday Season:
1. Holiday Road Rage: Holiday road rage is regular road rage on crack. People are in a huge hurry to get to the mall while simultaneously annoyed that everyone else is doing the same thing. My daughter and I were almost plowed down in a parking lot on Christmas Eve. If I hadn’t grabbed my child by the shirt, she might not be here to celebrate another holiday.
2. Last Minute Errand From Hell: Oh no, I forgot to buy a gift for Great Aunt Ruby! Just a quick trip to Bath & Body Works should do the trick. Or not, since you will be subjected to 45-minute lines and potential fistfights to get that effing bubble bath.
3. Party Pressure: There is pressure to host parties you don’t feel like entertaining. There is pressure to attend parties you don’t want to attend. We all have the power to say NO, but it’s the holidays, right? We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings around the holidays.
4. Family Feud: This may be the leading reason why the holidays suck. There are a variety of reasons why family and friends fight around the holidays, and most of them are the result of holiday stress. There is always that friend who drinks too many Pomegranate Martinis and flips out over the gift exchange. Even without the alcohol, there are still sibling rivalries, miscommunications, and insensitive quips that really do not make our season bright.
5. Present Pressure: There is a lot of discussion out there about how materialistic the holidays have become. Keeping up with the Joneses, keeping up with technology, and trying to make our children happy has turned this holiday berserk. We talk about how we aren’t going to do it again the following year. And then we do it all over again the anyway. Alas, this has me yearning for a more simple holiday season that is now out of reach.
6. Holiday Decoration Burnout: It’s 100 degrees in August where I live but that’s when Costco decides to bring out their Christmas decorations and my kids start harassing me to buy them. Yeah, we bought that deer that turns its head from side-to-side one year only to have him die a few years later.
7. The Elf on the Shelf: The pressure of moving that goddamn Elf every day for almost an entire month is almost too much for me to bear. And now because of Facebook and Pinterest, we cannot merely move the Elf to a new place. We have to create entire scenarios with the Elf doing something super funny. This year we even stooped so low as to put a Hershey’s Kiss in a cup and place the Elf on top of it as if the chocolate is a little Elf shit. Whatever.
8. Money Hemorrhage: Holy shit, we spend a lot of money over the holidays. Daily trips to the grocery store for parties we are hosting or attending. Christmas presents for everyone. Hostess gifts. New decorations we have to purchase since the kids broke 20 ornaments. New Christmas tree lights since one C9 bulb burned out last year and now we are forced to retrofit our entire lighting system.
9. Workload: There is endless present wrapping, decorating, shopping. cooking, cleaning, lying about Santa and the stupid Elf on the Shelf, parties, entertaining children who are out of school for three weeks, and the massive clean-up after the holidays. My regular life is work enough, which makes the added work around the holidays frustrating.
10. Listening to Everyone Like Us Complain About The Holidays . . . EVERY SINGLE YEAR.
Next year my family will rebel from the traditions, materialism, and expectations of the holiday season. I will make my holiday season more purposeful for my family by taking them somewhere they have never been. The reality is, we will probably stay home and do the same thing we have done for the last 10 years.
So I am open to ideas. Where would you go? How can we bring the magic back to the holidays next year?
This essay originally appeared on Role Reboot and has been syndicated with permission to Multiples Illuminated.
Megan Woolsey lives in Northern California with her family of six, including triplets and a vivacious big sister. Megan authors the blog, The Hip Mothership where she talks about parenting children in a time of iDevices and helicopter parenting. Megan has been published in Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Mid, XOJane, Mamalode, BLUNTmoms, BonBon Break, Role Reboot, and Erma Bombeck’s Writer’s Workshop. She has an essay published in the anthology, It’s Really 10 Month Special Delivery. She and her partner Alison Lee are working on an anthology called Multiples Illuminated, all about the wonderful world of raising multiples. When she isn’t sweating it out in hot yoga or writing her next article, Megan is seeking out the perfect glass of red wine that doesn’t render a hangover. When Megan needs a break from the kids, you can find her perusing her social media pages – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.