Taking Back the Holiday Season


A woman holding her daughter in front of a Christmas tree. Confession: I have never been a huge fan of the holiday season.

For me, once Thanksgiving hits, it is usually straight to high-stress. I go into “I need to get things done” mode, and I barely take the time to stop and enjoy. Between working, having three kids, and a child’s birthday a week before Christmas, accomplishing all the holiday magic seems nearly impossible each year.

I also do not think we talk about the pressures placed upon us during the holidays. There is financial pressure, familial pressure, and social pressure, and sometimes, the season can make us sad. Often, we think more about family members or friends we have lost.

This year, after an incredibly enjoyable Thanksgiving, I had a revelation. Why can’t I enjoy the holidays? Why can’t I put my own joy ahead of bending over backward to make everyone else happy? This year, I am doing just that.

While I am still incredibly overscheduled, I have said “no” to many things I would typically feel pressured to do. This has helped me prioritize my time. As it gets closer to Christmas, I spend many evenings out at the stores finalizing last-minute shopping and up late organizing, wrapping gifts, baking, and making lists. This is being avoided this year, not saying yes to every holiday festivity.

This year, we decided to skip a couple of the activities we do with the kids, and it feels like a good opportunity to try some new things. To keep things simple, Fridays have become a holiday movie night. It has been fun to share some of our favorite movies with the kids now that they are older. We have snacks and hot chocolate and snuggle up on the couch.

Finally, if I don’t have something in time, oh well! There are some people I may not see until after the holiday, and that is okay. I don’t plan on baking cookies because I don’t enjoy that. I won’t be sending out a holiday card because I don’t have time.

In addition to ensuring my children and husband are happy this holiday season, I am making myself happy and feeling much joy. I deserve it.


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