It’s okay if you haven’t wrapped any presents yet.
It’s okay if you haven’t bought your presents yet.
It’s okay if you don’t buy all the presents you originally planned to buy.
It’s okay if your kids have eaten frozen pizza for the last four nights in a row.
It’s okay for you to set boundaries — even if you have been doing the same thing for the last ten or twenty years and it would throw someone for a loop — and require your spouse to contribute to the Christmas shopping/wrapping/planning/cooking/cleaning.
It’s okay if you didn’t do all the Christmas things.
It’s okay if you didn’t do any of the Christmas things!
It’s okay if you don’t send out your Christmas cards until after Christmas.
It’s okay if you just don’t even do them this year.
It’s okay if your present wrapping is bare bones paper and tape with no bows. (I just write directly on the paper with a Sharpie at this point).
It’s okay if you skip the yearly tradition of (fill in the blank) if you just can’t figure out how to squeeze it in. Or you just don’t have the energy. Or the desire.
(Also, if you have to squeeze stuff in, then maybe it’s time to let that go anyway).
It’s okay if you didn’t make Christmas cookies from scratch.
It’s okay if you just get that roll of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough and put some sprinkles on them this year.
It’s okay if you didn’t even make the Christmas cookies.
It’s okay if there is no picture of everyone in Christmas pajamas.
It’s okay if your kids realized who Santa really is.
It’s okay if you forgot to move the stupid Elf more days than you remembered.
It’s okay for you to tell your relatives you don’t have enough money to buy presents for them this year.
It’s okay if you didn’t do whatever it is you told yourself you were supposed to do this Christmas.
As I sit here on December 22, I did not do almost all of the things I had planned to do this Christmas season.
I didn’t do any crafts with the kids.
There was no special trip this year.
We didn’t have a Christmas movie marathon. We didn’t even watch Rudolph, and I still haven’t introduced my kids to It’s A Wonderful Life.
We didn’t do the picture book “advent calendar” this year.
That’s like, my thing.
The kids started wrapping the books, and then they never finished, and I didn’t finish either.
I didn’t make any Christmas cookies with the kids.
No gingerbread houses.
We didn’t visit any special light displays.
I didn’t even consider thinking about a special “Christmas breakfast.”
I don’t know where all this pressure to do all this extra stuff came from.
By all means, if you enjoy it, then do it.
If crafts and cookies and being super extra during the month of December bring you joy, then do all that stuff!
Sometimes I do enjoy the extra.
But sometimes life and the Universe are like
NOPE. NOT THIS YEAR.
Or maybe the Universe is trying to ask you me why I am doing what I am doing.
Is it really important?
Is it worth the extra energy and money and… time?
I mean, if trying to cram a bunch of activities into three weeks is making you irritable and angry and you are snapping at your kids and losing your shit, is that really how you want to be spending the holidays with your family?
I know for my family, they just want my time.
They want me to genuinely be happy while I am with them doing nothing, as opposed to angry and resentful and constantly on the verge of a meltdown while we do everything.
They’d rather watch a movie on the couch with me and just be near me than anything else, really.
They just want this:
But I forget that so easily.
And you know what?
Even though there has been nothing extra about this holiday season, my kids are still super excited about Christmas.
They aren’t moping around talking about how shitty this Christmas was because we didn’t read all the picture books or we didn’t make Christmas cookies or we didn’t do whatever.
They are happy!
So it’s okay.
It’s okay if just say fuck it to all the stuff that hasn’t been done and let it go. Surrender.
Just be in the moment with your family.
More of this. Just sitting down for a nice breakfast with your kids, taking advantage of the mornings when you don’t have to rush out the door for school.
What’s not okay is for you to let the next three days go by and focus on the wrong thing.
Because the thing your family needs most isn’t your presents.
It’s your presence.