These Are a Few of My (Least) Favorite Things


These Are a Few of My (Least) Favorite ThingsIt’s the most wonderful time of year! Every day is full of potential for creating magical memories and traditions with our precious little humans. I absolutely love it! However you will probably read a dozen warm and fuzzy posts about Christmas over the next few weeks, so I wanted to take it another direction and address all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into being responsible for the holiday magic as a parent. Let’s go!

  • The Elf. We have to start with the freaking Elf on the Shelf. I swore a sacred oath that my family would never participate in the elf shenanigans. IMO, the whole thing is kind of creepy and I thought my kids would be unnerved by a toy that moves at night and spies on them, but it turns out that their sweet hearts had a burning desire to add one to our family. My oldest son in particular was really pleading to me to get an elf, and I knew that his days as a “believer” were numbered. I caved. Charlie Max Massey arrived one December morning and my children’s eyes twinkled with delight every morning when they located Charlie caught in a cute scenario. In the 24 days leading up to Christmas, I probably forgot about the elf eight times. Then I would have to get out of my cozy bed and make a mess for this critter that I would end up cleaning up by myself. I may or may not have told the kids a couple of times that their baby sister must have touched him and that’s why he didn’t move that night. This year she’s old enough to speak English so I’m going to have to get my life together.
  • Santa. We initially debated whether to carry on this tradition, but my husband and I just couldn’t get past remembering the wonder of it all when we were little. We didn’t grow up with trust issues because our parents “lied” to us about jolly ole Saint Nick. But I would be kidding myself if I didn’t say that keeping up this charade is a lot of effort. As parents we have to come up with creative explanations for way too many Santa related questions. “Mommy, we don’t have a chimney so how will Santa get in our house?” “Uh, well Santa is also a locksmith so…uh. He has a magic key?” “Mommy, how can Santa be at Bass Pro Shop and at the mall and at the North Pole at the same time?” “Those are imposters. They are just riding the coattails of the real Santa’s fame to make money from innocent children. It’s called capitalism, sweetie. Speaking of capitalism, Santa’s gifts weren’t free. Santa in our house doesn’t bring the biggest or most expensive gifts; Mommy and Daddy are getting the credit for those.”These Are a Few of My (Least) Favorite Things
  • Toy assembly. When I was little, I always wondered why my Mom wasn’t pumped to wake up at 6am to check out what Santa had brought. Turns out it’s because she had just spent six hours putting all 800 pieces of a Barbie Dream House together and had only been asleep for 45 minutes before I rushed into her bedroom raring to go. Also, why are toys now anchored into the boxes with plastic, screws, zip ties, and twist ties?! It almost requires a pitcrew and a master’s degree to open my children’s gifts. My husband usually ends up Hulking out on something at least once Christmas morning.
  • Traditions. When we were newly married I was so thrilled to create family traditions of our own. I was ambitious. Family traditions we started with one infant have become really elaborate and expensive now that we have four kids. We can easily drop $150 on personalized ornaments alone. Every inch of my living room is covered in popcorn garland because each person apparently needs you make their own. Oh, we can’t forget the Christmas pajamas. I finally gave up on finding matching ones for our big family and have settled on coordinating ones.
  • Food. I always picture baking Christmas cookies with my kids as this wholesome, joyous experience and I look forward to it every year. Once we are in the kitchen though, it is a cyclone of sticky icing, rogue sprinkles, and germs. They lick everything. My toddler is like a crack addict when it comes to sugar and there is nothing you can do to stop her. Still, we make the cookies, take the pictures, and I spend my youth scraping dried icing out of everyone’s hair. Mission accomplished.
  • Organization. This is definitely a first-world problem, but we really struggle finding a home for all the new toys and it stresses me out. After Christmas I always end up rearranging my house to accommodate the influx of stuff. I’m pushing for experience gifts and quality time instead, otherwise I’m going to have to vote some people out of this house to make room. Anybody want a two-year-old?

Nothing is simple when you’re a parent, but despite all the effort and resources that go into the holidays, they are more magical now than ever. Watching the joy and wonder in the faces of my children make all of the work worth it though. One day not long from now, my kids will grow into adults and my house will be so quiet on Christmas morning and I will look back on all the chaos of these days with a smile.