Jen Mann writes about holiday headaches in her new book, Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat. This book had me laughing out loud, and had my kids wondering what was so funny as I kicked back on the couch and sipped on a lovely winter cocktail while reading her hilarious collection of essays focused on the crazy holiday routines we all stress over.
Jen’s book is a must read for those who have tried, and failed, to keep themselves sane during the holiday season…or drinks too much at a holiday party, says inappropriate things, and can’t figure out why they aren’t invited back the following year.
I get stressed out during the month of December, for a number of reasons. There’s certainly more to look forward to and to smile about than there is to moan about, but it never hurts to clear the air. So, I’m going to get this off my chest and take a few minutes to vent so I can get over it and then focus on enjoying the holiday season.
Seven Things I Hate about the Holidays
Elf on the Shelf – Could there be anything creepier than a doll who is meant to intimidate your kids into behaving and then – worse – having to move it every night as if the thing were alive? I don’t think so.
Wrapping Presents – I know. Unwrapping presents is super fun and watching kids tear into their gifts so they can be fully surprised and overwhelmed with the toy or awesome gift inside is meant to be enjoyable. But, every year, I spend hours wrapping presents only to have the shredded paper end up in piles of messy waste to be thrown out (and taking up valuable space in our landfills).
On the year our youngest was born (he arrived two weeks early – on Christmas Eve), I wasn’t prepared for Christmas so we got home from the hospital that morning and quickly stuffed my older son’s gifts inside plastic bags from Target, which I of course recycled after he opened them. Best wrapping year ever.
Gingerbread Houses – Let’s face it. No gingerbread house ever looks like it does on the box – at least not in my house when I’m involved. I am not a crafty person or artsy in any way, so the sloppy, lopsided gingerbread houses that end up on our kitchen table are not photo worthy and adorable. Also, gross. Now that everyone’s hands have been all over the ingredients trying to get it to stand up and stick together, the last thing I want to think about is anyone actually consuming the candy or gingerbread pieces.
True fact: I still buy a gingerbread house kit every year thinking “This is the year I will not stress about it and it will be Pinterest worthy and amazing.”
Holiday Travel – The worst. Traveling on Christmas Day is not the most ideal way to celebrate the holiday, but when it comes to sharing custody, making sure my son is able to spend the day with each of his parents is kinda important. And so we make sacrifices, like flying to visit family a week early so he can be home in time to celebrate with his dad.
Santa Claus – My oldest son was devastated – DEVASTATED – when he realized we had been lying and deceiving him all those years about Santa Claus. His brother was just a baby when he discovered the truth and made me promise that I would never subject his little brother to the lie that is St. Nick. He’s now in the same creepy category as that Elf on a Shelf guy.
Christmas Cookie Exchanges – I’ve never actually participated in a cookie exchange, but I have to agree with Jen Mann about this one. The idea of getting together to exchange cookies which means I have to bake dozens of cookies to get dozens of cookies in exchange makes zero sense. I don’t need any more cookies in my house, unless it’s Girl Scout Cookie season, and then I’ll make room in whatever corner of our home I can find for those damn Samoas.
Birthday or Christmas – Both of my boys have late December birthdays. Both of them. Whenever I wrap a present for them (see the section on Wrapping Presents above), I never know if I should wrap the gift in Christmas wrapping paper or birthday wrapping paper or if it really matters. Our youngest son was born on Christmas Eve and my oldest son’s birthday is just a week later so they don’t really know the difference, or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.
For more great Holiday ideas, be sure to check out these awesome posts written by my fellow Chosen Chix bloggers:
- 7 Reasons I No Longer Send Holiday Cards by November Sunflower
- 7 Romantic Holiday Winter Date Night Ideas for Parents by Afropolitan Mom
- 7 Frugal Family Holiday Activities by Philzendia
- 7 Ways To Creatively Use Your Old Holiday Cards by As Mom Sees It
- 7 Easy Hanukkah Crafts for Kids by Family Review Guide
- 7 Gifts Every Book Lover Needs by The NYC Talon