Handmade Christmas ornaments. Check. Elf on the shelf. Check. Advent calendar ideas. Check. Reindeer Food. Check. The list seems to grow and grow and grow. So much so that it can seem heavy. The other day I had a conversation with a dear friend about the weight that parents now feel over the need to make Christmas magical. “What causes this need, this feeling, this desire to create a magical world for our children?” she asked. As we sat for hours chatting about this exact thing, I think we came to a simple solution.
The conversation started something like this…
You see, everyone likes to point the finger at Pinterest with its gigantic picture perfect images flooding your screen. Theres homemade snow, handprint ornaments and more activities than you can shake your mouse at. You could literally spend hours trying to pin everything on pinterest related to Christmas and not put a dent in the wealth of ideas. That can feel heavy. That can be overwhelming.
Then you have Facebook. Whether you follow blogs or not, someone is bound to share some “cute” idea they found (most likely from Pinterest). Maybe you are strong enough to look past the occasional meme or shared idea. It’s not long before your actual real life friends are sharing the best of what they are doing. It starts the day after Thanksgiving. Trees being decorated, stockings getting hung, and elves starting to arrive. There’s that weight again. It seems like you can’t avoid it. It seems to be everywhere.
Let’s pretend for a moment that you don’t read Facebook, you have never pinned a thing in your life, and you don’t read “blogs”. You pride yourself in being a minimalist and true to the season. Then it somehow smacks you in the face like a ton of bricks. You are out and about, minding your own business, when store after store, street corner after street corner, and billboard after billboard start to look the same. Happy families surrounded by gifts, Santa, elves, and well, “magic”. You can’t help but feel the weight.
“We are constantly bombarded by things that are meant to make our children’s lives more “magical”, my friend says to me. “It is social media. It is advertising that is to blame.”
You know what I think of that? POSH!!! I say NO WAY! Saying that this heavy weight we feel is because of an online bulletin board, a photo gallery of everyone’s best moments, and marketers getting the best of us, lets us off the hook. It really does. It takes the blame off of us.
Just the other day, I announced on Facebook that our family does not and has not ever told our children Santa is real. You would have thought that I said we are devil worshipers from the response I got. I kid you not, I had over 50 responses that told me I was taking the “magic” out of Christmas and shame on me.
Shame on me? Really? Are we really saying that the “magic” comes from one particular tradition, cute crafts, fancy count down calendars? Really?
What happened to “magic” is what we make ourselves? What happened to the “magic” of a child’s imagination? So again, I say POSH! I say NO WAY! The weight of making Christmas magical is not coming from Social Media and the nasty people at Pinterest.
Here’s the thing. I don’t feel the weight of making Christmas magical. Not at all. My load is actually pretty light.
Before you get mad at me and tune me out, I’d like you to hear my thoughts. Because, honestly, if you are feeling that weight, you might be looking for a way to unload.
When I was growing up, we made paper plate Christmas trees, paper chain ornaments, and Christmas cookies. We visited Santa in the mall and got our picture taken. You know what, we even had special Advent activities we did as we counted them down. My mom had special Christmas Craft books she got from the bookstore and she even “pinned” her favorite Christmas cookie recipes to her corkboard in the kitchen. No one blamed her for making them feel guilty for not doing enough to make Christmas magical.
We did all the things that are being done today. (Okay, we didn’t have the elf, but you get the point.) We crafted, we celebrated, we even decorated the house with all sorts of fun things. We went to actual bookstores and looked at books to find ideas for fun things to do together. And guess what? We did not walk out of the bookstore feeling heavy that we were not doing ALL of the things in the craft section. We did not feel the need to make every recipe that looked delicious. Nope. We just found things we liked and we did them. No blame. No weight. No lost “magic”.
Now that I am a mother of 3, I don’t feel the weight. I have never felt the weight. Instead, I love this time of year. I love looking through Pinterest and seeing others’ ideas. I love seeing what my friends and family are up to and the mischief their elves are getting into. I love all the reports from Norad as Santa gets closer to our neck of the woods. It is all magical. It is all so fun and lighthearted.
I don’t feel the need to buy in. I don’t feel the need to do any of it, but it sure is fun to look at. It sure does seem magical.
So the next time you are feeling the heavy weight on your shoulder to measure up, remember there is nothing to measure up to. Think of it like one large bookstore with every book in the world looking at you. Leave that bookstore and remember you don’t have to buy anything today. And yes, your child’s Christmas will still be magical…. because they have you!
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