6 Things I Won’t Be Doing this Holiday Season

holiday season
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As the holiday season approaches, many moms may be surprised by how mixed their feelings are. There is the excitement, sure, for time spent as a family, for memories to be made and for smiling faces opening the present of their dreams on Christmas morning. Along with the excitement though is the stress of getting everyone the gifts they want, the delicate dance of making sure time is spent with everyone it “should” be spent with, and the endless need to make sure every moment is photographed, filtered, and posted for posterity.

In an effort to make sure that joy and excitement outweigh stress and dread this year, I’ve decided to make the revolutionary choice to simply not do the things that I don’t like. I’m sure I’ll be the lone mom in my Facebook feed to opt out of many of the things that have somehow become middle-class holiday “Must Do's.” But, for my own peace and joy, that’s what I’ll be doing. If you’re already stressing about the holiday season I’d encourage you to take a long hard look at your to-do list and make sure that there’s nothing on there that brings more negative than positive. For inspiration on what to cut, check out the list below of all the things I won’t be doing this holiday season. 

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I won’t be buying my kids matching outfits to visit Santa Claus

This holiday season I won’t be hitting up Hanna Andersson as soon as they line their window display with snowflakes. I won’t be searching for matching dresses or tiny Jon Jons. And, more importantly, I won’t be wrangling my kids into said Jon Jon’s before waiting in line to see Santa. There will be no bows to straighten or suspenders to adjust or socks to keep up. This year, if my three-year-old has gotten over his concern around sitting on the jolly stranger's lap, we might go see Santa. And, if we do, I can assure you that my kids will be wearing something slightly stained, slightly askew, and totally normal.

I won’t be putting any sort of elf on any sort of shelf

While I’m sure that many of my son’s classmate’s parents will be spending their evening pinning “naughty elf” ideas and then Instagramming their renditions, I won’t. I have no judgment towards parents who derive joy from getting creative every night for a month. But I myself will be kicking back with a big mug of hot chocolate and relaxing my evenings away.

I won’t be baking anything fancy

This winter, I won’t be baking anything fancy. The cookies we make for Santa will be from a package, and I’ve already signed up to bring napkins to my offices holiday lunch. There will be no homemade Christmas Eve brunch (bagels anyone?) or perfectly glazed turkey on Christmas day. This holiday season I plan to spend my time and energy on projects that I love — not baking, which I don’t.

I won’t be crafting anything at all


This holiday season, when the glitter begins to fly, and my Instagram begins to flood over with images of gingerbread houses and homemade ornaments, I’ll remind myself that I have no moral obligation to craft. My kids won’t notice that their stockings haven’t been hand embroidered. And they certainly won’t care that I didn’t hand letter our holiday cards.

I won’t be establishing traditions that I’ll follow forever

This year, I’m committing to freeing myself from the pressure to create traditions that will endure through my kid’s childhoods. It’s nice to do some things every year. It’s also nice to do what works for my family as they are now and to reevaluate and make changes as they grow and change. Being a good mom doesn’t mean establishing ‘forever’ traditions. So, as I move through the season, I won’t be worried about what we’re going to do next year.

I won’t be going to the gingerbread house display

In my pre-kid life, I used to love sipping something warm and walking through the elaborate display of gingerbread houses at the fanciest spot in my hometown. Now, with a three-year-old and a one-year-old, my life is decidedly different and I don’t plan to proceed as if it’s not. Though I hope to one day in the future revisit this old holiday favorite, this year I won’t fight traffic and crowds, wrangle an energetic toddler, and soothe a demanding one-year-old just for the sake of tradition.

So, what will I do this holiday season?

This year I plan to spend my time and energy doing things that my husband, myself, and my children enjoy. I’ll stock our advent calendar with chocolate pieces and watch as my son opens each drawer with delight. I’ll decorate our Christmas tree with ornaments that my little one brought home from preschool and we’ll tie holiday ribbons on the stairwell. And I’ll keep the cupboards stocked with hot chocolate and read a Christmas story every evening. When the weather finally gets cool enough we’ll roast marshmallows in the fireplace and break out our matching family slippers. We’ll snap a few family selfies, sip vanilla milkshakes as we drive around town looking at lights, and get the kids each a few sweet presents.

I’ll do all of these things not because I have to, or because the other moms in my Facebook feed are doing them but because I really want to. They make me feel happy and cheerful and excited about Christmas and winter. This holiday season, as you consider how to spend your time, I’d recommend you do the same.

Do you think you'll simplify your holiday season this year? Tell us how!1

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6 Things I Won’t Be Doing this Holiday Season

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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