“Tis the season of lowered expectations,” I recently texted a dear friend and fellow mom of two. Because in this month of hyped-up hopes and dreams of how you’d like to celebrate, the reality is it’s hard to keep up—especially when you have a few kiddos in the mix.
So this year I tried to scale back what I planned to do at Christmas with my girls.
Lowering Christmas expectations
It was hard to minimize expectations because Peeper is so into Christmas. If she’s refusing wind-down time before bed, I mention Christmas jammies and she sprints to her room. I bribe her not with candy or TV time but with the privilege of putting an ornament on the tree. She literally jumps up and down when I return from the mailbox: She wants to open “Christmas mail.” I’m pretty sure I could call asparagus Christmas trees and she’d dig in.
(Hey, that’s actually a good idea. I may try that.)
Yet when the day we’d planned to cut our own Christmas tree turned into a deluge, I said we could go to the lot instead. And when Kiwi was having a hard morning—and therefore I was having a hard morning—I suggested Eric take Peeper. And when the day got later and we were approaching Peeper’s nap time, I agreed that he should go by himself. And when it took the entire day to get the darn tree into the house, I didn’t mind (too much). And when we put up ornaments piecemeal throughout the week instead of decorating the tree as a family, I sighed but realized I could live with it.
See? Lowered expectations.
Fine is good enough
So we’ll be baking cookies for Santa, but we’re using store-bought dough. I wrapped presents, but when I ran out of wrapping paper I used Peeper’s art instead. Peeper refused to be in the picture in front of the tree, so I took one with just Kiwi anyway. I hung stockings but didn’t have time to make Kiwi one, so she’s using the dog’s.
I’ve been thinking a lot about reframing how I see my day to day. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the pile of unfiled paperwork and the pine needles carpeting the floor and our tiny fridge that is meant to somehow hold food for the 15-person dinner we’re hosting, I’m trying to notice small victories.
I made a Google doc for Christmas dinner so family and friends could list what dish they’re bringing.
I hired a cleaning lady to ready the house for guests and visitors.
I finally sent out Kiwi’s birth announcements along with the Christmas cards. (And I saved on postage!)
These may not make for a Pinterest-worthy holiday. But I am clinging to the remaining scraps of my sanity this Christmas, and I’m counting my small victories.
May you, too, feel victorious this holiday, whether your house is twinkling with lights or not, whether cobwebs or pine swags hang from the eaves, whether Santa will snack on iced gingerbread men or crumbs left on the counter.
To those who celebrate it, merry Christmas!