Welcome to your 2019 holiday adventure!
You are the cruise director. You are the magic manufacturer. You are the air traffic controller of whimsy. You are the keeper of lists, the baker of cookies, the elf-poser, the gift hider, the budget balancer.
And, perhaps, you could use a reminder that…
Your Elf On The Shelf can come and go whenever works for
you your elf. December 11 to the 18th? Great! December 3rd… just the one day? FINE. It’s totally fine. If they visit every day of the month, that’s an impressive accomplishment and you should reward yourself when they return to the North Pole for the year. But if your elf needs to submit a “doctor’s note” and take the rest of the month off, just know that’s a thing they can do.
Your EOTS can repel down a zipline and into a cup of marshmallows or they can just sit on your dusty bookshelf. Both are totally valid options. And, of course, we shouldn’t judge what other people’s elves do or don’t do because what other
grown people elves do with their free time does not affect us.
Your EOTS doesn’t have to visit you at all this year, even if they have every single year forever. They can take a sabbatical. You are the traffic controller of whimsy, remember? You can tell them to stay home.
You absolutely do not have to partake in any of this EOTS madness ever, not even for a day, but- in my opinion- it’s best to not waste your time ranting online about how dumb you think the tradition is because 1. save that outrage for Starbucks not bringing back the Gingerbread Latte this year and 2. other people’s holiday traditions shouldn’t take up that much space, rent-free in your head.
You don’t (always) have to do things that you dread.
We’ve moved beyond talking about elves now. We’re talking about holiday parties and sending cards and making 10 dozen cookies for the cookie exchange. You can say no to any of these things if they- as the great Marie Kondo would say- don’t spark joy.
Your life is ever evolving, and it’s ok for your holiday traditions to evolve along with it.
If your toddler keeps taking the fancy ornaments off the tree and causing you great stress, it may be wise to put them back in storage and leave them there for the next few years. Embrace plastic ornaments that aren’t really your style but won’t shatter or stress you out.
There will come a time- at least I’m told- when you can put wrapped presents under the tree before the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve. I’m assuming that’s when it will be safe again to have a pretty tree with pretty, non-plastic ornaments. I’m not there yet, but I know I’ll be a little sad when I am.
Cookie decorating is not a required family bonding experience, but if you do want to partake, you can totally just buy some pre-made cookies from the bakery in the grocery store and you can even get those tubes of pre-made frosting if you want.
Your life does not have to look like a Rice Krispies commercial. It’s normal to get annoyed at the mess and feel overwhelmed and frustrated when your kids throw flour and sprinkles at each other, and argue when they. are. SUPPOSED. to. be. making. memories. Dammit.
Yes, the holidays are a great time to model giving and charity for your children, but so is the rest of the year. If your kids don’t seem to morph into selfless saints in 24 days, remember that they are humans whose brains are not fully formed, and that you have more than 3 ish weeks a year to impress upon them the value of giving to others and expecting nothing in return.
You can request that grandparents not give your kids a lot of stuff this year. You can value experiences over things. But also, don’t feel shame in gifting and receiving STUFF. It doesn’t have to be either/or.
Finally, you can stuff your own stocking. That’s probably my favorite note-to-(s)elf. I will not go another year with the most depressing stocking in the lineup.
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