A Friendly Holiday Reminder for Busy Parents Everywhere


You do not have to do all the things.

Seriously. You don’t.

I heard this from a fellow busy mom today:

Busy Mom: Yeah, my friend C was asking about my Christmas decorations today. I told her I barely put up a tree — and we do stockings. That’s it. I’m lazy.

You do not have to do all the things. And WHEN YOU DON’T it doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re prioritizing.

I’m already not a fan of all the STUFF that seems to signify the holiday season but now I’m on record saying let’s reexamine all the damn obligations, too. Decorating and cookie baking and photo posing and gingerbread housing and Santa visiting and party-going and twinkle light stringing — it’s SO MUCH. None of those things is bad — in fact, all that stuff can be really fun. That’s how we get caught up in it. It all just sounds so magical and it’s tradition and it’s just WHAT PEOPLE DO.

But I’m telling you.

You do not have to do all the things.

Do the things that bring you joy. YOU. Not the imaginary people you’ve convinced yourself will notice if you skip something on the Holiday Activity Checklist. Do the things that are special to your family, and let the rest go. Maybe not even forever, just for this year. Or until you will genuinely enjoy them again.

If baking and decorating cookies is the biggest, most dreaded chore for you and it causes you more grief than joy — don’t do it. Find a friend who LOVES that part, and make a playdate. Done.

If decorating the house isn’t your thing and all you can think of while you’re putting it all out is what a pain it’ll be to take it all down — don’t do it. This is the second year in a row I haven’t put up a tree. I’m not a decorator and no one in my house is into it — so I never even put up the tree last year. And I didn’t feel any less Christmasy so I’m doing it again this year.

And it’s not because I’m lazy. It’s because we don’t enjoy that part — but we enjoy other things so we do that instead. We decorated a gingerbread house with friends at a local bakery last year. Worth EVERY PENNY for the chance to decorate and make a big, fun mess — then walk away and not clean up the aftermath. Nearly every single day last December I picked up Colt from school and took a lap around our downtown square to enjoy the incredible lights. We’ve never put a single light on our house, but I love love love enjoying the lights on the square. So that’s what we do.

You do not have to do all the things.

But if something brings you joy — do it. Prioritize it. If decorating your Christmas tree the first week in November while blasting Christmas music and enjoying a fire and waiting for cookies fresh from the oven brings you joy THEN DO THAT. And send me a picture, because pictures and stories of other people’s joy bring me joy. But if that stuff makes you crazy — give yourself permission to go to Plan B.

Have a beautiful holiday, friends.

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