During the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, I saw a lot of chatter online about being overwhelmed by the spectacle holidays have become. Not so much in the “Christmas starting in October” way (I am firmly against that), but in an, “Every holiday is celebrated to the hilt with a ton of handmade goodies” kind of way. There is a lot of negativity thrown at the parents who get creative at the holidays, and it makes me sad.
Compared to when I was growing up, celebrations have gotten bigger. A lot of parents go all out for holidays and birthdays. As you all know, I am one of those parents sometimes. Crafting huge parties is my love, and I get immense pleasure from throwing crazy fiestas for my kids and friends. I do it because it makes me happy and it makes them happy. I know that in the blink of an eye, my kids will be older and they won’t want me to throw them theme parties, or move an elf around the house, or pretend a leprechaun vacations in our front yard.
I also do it because I’m good at it. I’m creative, crafty, and like entertaining, and I’m not going to just sit on those skills because they might be perceived as “over the top” by some. I’m not trying to compete with people or make anyone look bad. I’m just “following my bliss,” so to speak. I like spending my free time making a little bit of fun and magic for the people I love.
Here’s the thing that I think a lot of people forget: everyone is good at something. People who aren’t crafty or holiday-oriented might be putting all of their energy into cooking gourmet meals from scratch, or teaching an instrument, or renovating a room in their home. I used to spend time wishing I was more like those people until I realized we all have our special skills.
I know it sucks when your kid comes home from school and says, “Allie’s elf on the shelf does all these crazy things every day, how come ours doesn’t do anything fun?!” or “Evan’s dad is a chef and they make cookies every day, why don’t we?” or “Natalie’s mom is teaching her piano, why can’t you?” Every kid wants their mom or dad to be more like a friend’s parent in one way or another. And that’s okay! This is a hugely important lesson for kids to learn. Someone is always going to excel at something amazing, or have something better, or or do something more exciting. As parents, we have to manage our kids’ expectations and teach them to appreciate the things that are amazing in their own lives, not in someone else’s.
This doesn’t make it any easier to hear our kids complain about the areas they feel we parents lack in, but this is where we really have to be “the grown ups” and stop the madness. Enough of this pressure we put on ourselves to be these unrealistically amazing people who can do it all. When our kids come home and ask why we don’t do something like Becky or Jimmy’s mom, or when we see an amazing redecorated room on Instagram, instead of getting upset or snarky we should think about what we do that’s amazing and feel no guilt about it. If you love going crazy at the holidays, do it! If you love crafting elaborate meals from scratch for your family, cook away! If you adore sewing clothing, sew on! Focus on what you do best, and share that with the people you love. Of course we want to make them happy, but we also have to make ourselves happy.
Also, if you’re someone who cooks gourmet meals from scratch, can I come over?