Your Holiday Survival Guide

Taking care of the family over the holidays can be stressful, so here are three tips from Moms on Call to make it easier! Get helpful advice and learn how to manage your holiday stress.

It was my son’s third Christmas (ever), and the bouncing Tigger was the toy to have, sold out everywhere. Honestly, it would have cost a kidney to get one. However, our best friends were in the right place at exactly the right time, and although they did not have kids of their own, they snatched one for little ‘Gray-dude.’ And to say we were excited was an understatement. We gathered around and put this one gift in the middle of the living room, waiting to see his sheer glee upon opening it.

It did not go as planned. Once opened, we set the Tigger on the floor (it was almost as tall as he was) and patted Tigger on the head because that made Tigger…bounce. And that is when the blood-curdling screaming began; one of those “did we just scar him for life?” kind of screams.

Followed by a retreat to the back bedroom, where he stayed until he was convinced of our guarantee that Tigger would never come back into our home again…ever. And our friends, once filled with excited expectations, were left rethinking the whole “should we even have kids?” debate. The moment was a huge letdown, but the bigger endings of the story were good. Gray is not scarred for life and can engage with all the Pooh characters without reservation. Our friends went on to have four wildly intelligent and wonderful children, and we learned to hold every holiday experience with an open hand. Things do not always turn out the way you thought. So, without further ado….here is our Holiday Survival Guide!

Holiday Survival Guide: Top 3 Things to Help

There are no trophies.

You worked hard to get it all perfectly beautiful, and that is amazing. Let us say thank you! Why? Because nobody typically hands out awards for our holiday efforts. But we see you. We know the hours you spent selecting wrapping paper that matches the living room, how you made cookies twice because you forgot to get the neighbors a gift and had to make a last-minute decision. That is what we call Christmas. You did it. You are truly amazing. The award for that is actually that an exhausted kid may fall asleep on you mid-day. That means you get to feel the weight of their warm little body and listen to them breathe as you hold them tight (so much better than a trophy!).

Someone may get sick.

Yes, we are coming out of the leftovers of a pandemic haze; we again have to navigate if it is okay to see the Grands if our kid has a fever….(nope). At every moment, we have to do our best to have a backup. As much as we hate it, we always have to be the heavy and be ready with an alternate plan or be ready to stay home with the sick one. The three classes of people we take special precautions to protect…newborns, immune-compromised (like someone who has cancer), and the elderly. We have your back. Regardless of who has the symptoms, it is okay to say, “I am sure you understand we are going to keep the baby as healthy as possible, so we appreciate you telling us that your son has a vicious cough and had a fever yesterday. We are going to respectfully find a time to see you when everyone is feeling better.”

And lastly….chaos is inevitable.

Toddlers do not always like stuff, even stuff they asked for or thought they wanted at some point. We have great news! They are going to be fine. Even if the holidays are wrought with tears and tantrums, that is NOT what they remember. They remember that you were together. They remember that you were present more than they remember the presents. And most of all, they remember the love that was shared in your home.

So, the biggest thing you need to survive the holidays is to realize that you already have what you need because you are what you need. So, even if the gifts are not met with patient gratitude, Christmas is a success because you did it together. From our family at Moms on Call to yours, have the most adorable, chaotic, sweet, unexpected Christmas.