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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15 thoughts on “The Weight Of Making Christmas Magical”
Dayna, as always you hit the very spot! Every year I felt the pressure and blamed myself of not being that shiny mom on christmas. We ran away from the ‘commercial’ life, but as long as I have internet (pinterest and FB) there will always be these things popping in my eyes. And, yes, there is nothing wrong at making and doing all the fancy christmas stuff, it’s the matter of not feeling guilty when you don’t do them. That’s where I am trying to find the balance. THanks for the read and making me feel better. Not alone. As always 🙂
Thank you so much. That means so much to me. Exactly. The guilt has to stop!
This is a great post, Dayna! I feel the same way. This was beautifully worded!
I also don’t tell my kids Santa is real. One, because I have an anxious kid who I think would freak out by the idea that a strange man sneaks into her room at night. (We have the tooth fairy on the horizon too, not sure what we will do about that). But also, it feels weird for me to lie to them. We don’t really outright say he is not real unless asked (and eve then we say “what do YOU think?”, and we’ve talked about making sure we don’t spoil it for her friends who do believe he is real.
Thank you so much for your kind words. It was heavy on my heart to share this and I am glad I did. The key is that you aren’t wrong for doing all the things and you aren’t wrong for NOT doing all the things… YOU are the reason Christmas is magical for your kids. 🙂
You took the words out of my mouth! I feel the same about the “pressure” others feel. I look at all the beautiful things I see as inspiration or something new to try. I have never felt as though I have to do all of it…we just do the things we love….and that is it! No one is “forcing or telling me” to. What works for our family may not go another….that is why there are so many different kinds of “magic.”
I don’t feel the pressure to buy in so much this year, but last year I did. The funny thing is, the things I remember from my childhood were so simple. We didn’t do crafts and fancy advent calendars. It was just seeing lights and picking out ornaments, decorating the tree and the excitement of Christmas morning. We each need to do what’s right for our own family – you hit it spot on!
I loved your post.
So true and there are times I feel the pressure but try to stay away and just do
We also don’t tell the kids that Santa is real and it sure is a sensitive issue for qi
Thank you so much! I am so glad this hit home for you! It means a ton!
Thank you thank you THANK YOU. I hardly ever Tell people we don’t do Santa. They do act like we should have our children taken away. I can’t say thank you enough.
I am so glad you liked this post so much! 🙂
As the director of an early childhood center, I see the weight the parents (and even our teachers) take on this time of year. I remember when my children were very young and I did the same thing. The more I have come to know children, the more I realize that you are very right, it is the time with you that makes a child’s Christmas magical. If you want to do crafting, make sure you do it together. If you like the music, sing and dance together. Believe me, in the years to come your children won’t remember the perfection, unless you made them crazy with it. They will remember the time they had snuggled close to you as you read your favorite Christmas story. They will remember walking around the neighborhood, holding your hand, looking at everyone’s decorations. You bring the magic with your love, your acceptance and your time.
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