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Finding perspective and grace this Christmas

Santatay Does anyone else feel like Christmas sneaks up on them each year?  No matter how early I start planning, no matter that I shop year round, the last two months of the year somehow go into some kind of super overdrive and the holidays are here and gone before I know it.  It doesn’t help that I have a newborn this year, what with the sleep deprivation and hours spent snuggling while she nurses on the couch.  I have to make a list of the activities we want to do with the girls each year, in order to make sure the important things get done.  Even then, the decorations are only half up, (okay, let’s face it, the decorations are done, but only half of them made it out of the box) the Christmas cards are half way completed, the shopping is half done, if that.  I hear the words, “Having myself a half assed little Christmas” going through my mind, to the tune of have yourself a merry little Christmas. 

 Thank goodness my girls are too young to notice the things that bother me when I drift off to sleep thinking of what went undone and what needs done tomorrow.  I try hard to make sure we have one fun thing planned for each day as we count down to Santa’s arrival.  Still in my head I have this vision of a perfectly decorated house, hot chocolate and Christmas music each night as we sit together talking after dinner, the house all cleaned and ready to entertain any unexpected guest that stops by…I’m guessing that if this dream ever materializes into reality it won’t be until the girls are at least in middle school.  As it stands we managed to get the tree up and decorated before the first week of December was over and it hasn’t been knocked over yet!  I’m hoping the house is at least modestly presentable to my immediate family by our annual Christmas Eve dinner.  That will require those stacks of clean laundry on my beautiful dining room table to find a new home…


Betsy Brown Braun was on the Rachael Ray Show today, talking about how to facilitate good behavior during the holidays.  Her first point hit home with me – kids pick up on our stress and often mirror it – by allowing myself to relax and enjoy I’m helping them to do the same.  I’m going to do my best to stick to our list and not worry to much about the rest.  If I get the time I think I’ll even repackage our decorations so I don’t even get the things down from the attic that didn’t make it out of the box this year.  (who am I kidding – nothing ever gets marked well when it gets thrown back up come new year’s day!)

When I slow down and look at things from my two year old’s perspective, things look pretty good.  She is definitely experiencing the magic of Christmas with the tree lights and Christmas music on as we play, decorate cookies and write letters to Santa.  She knows enough to realize that the relatives are all really just there to enjoy watching her open presents at our house on Christmas Eve – and as long as the clothes are cleared they probably don’t notice that the chandelier needs cleaned or the bathroom mirrors have spots.  I think the gift I most want to give myself this year is a little grace.  And that really is a gift for my daughters as well – showing them that it’s okay to be realistic and to slow down and remember what is really important.

This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.

Stephanie shares her problem solving approach to parenting and life management at Problem Solvin Mom.