Happy...? Holidays...!?

Happy Holidays!  That’s what we all wish each other, but let’s face it, most of us moms experience a wee bit of joy and a whole lot of stress. Between the holiday parties, baking, gift buying, sending out Christmas cards, planning your holiday meal, secret Santa gift exchanges, juggling the dynamics of extended families, figuring out when Hanukkah is this year, taking the kids to see Santa, decorating, all while dealing with the extreme emotions the holidays invoke in our little ones (Melt-down City!), it’s hard to feel the joy!  This is my seventeenth year doing the holidays as a mom and I’ve almost got it down.  I’ve had nearly two decades to hone what’s important to me and to let go of the things that don’t.  And...this is the kicker...to not give a shit about it.  You know, truly letting it go.

It helps to have realistic expectations.  Kids will not be at their best- the upset of their routine, whether they are babies or much older, is enough to put them way out of sorts.  I try to take that into account as I weigh what is important to me and how much time I have to execute my plans (and to muster just a little bit more patience with them). Now that they are older, getting baking done is reasonable- I just need to factor in an extra five minutes for Arya to “help” before she gets bored. When she was a baby, if I wanted to bake it, had to happen after all three of them were in bed for the night, with me fighting exhaustion. Needless to say, I enjoy holiday baking much more now.

This annual funny-faced Santa photo would not have happened without the compassionate support and scheduling genius of Rosalinda Luna and Tiny Tots in Campbell. 

This annual funny-faced Santa photo would not have happened without the compassionate support and scheduling genius of Rosalinda Luna and Tiny Tots in Campbell. 

Getting the perfect family photo for the perfect holiday card?  No way...that’s probably the root of our family’s affinity for silly-faced pictures- so much easier to get them to make a funny face.  Then there’s the adventure of actually ordering the damned card. (Really!? I’ve been on my laptop for five hours comparing templates and prices at all the printing houses!?)

And there’s nothing worse than making a trip to the mall for that one gift for hubby with even just one of my kids in tow- that’s a guaranteed battle.  (Frankly, the mall is my own personal hell even when it’s not the holiday season!) So, Kev no longer gets anything that comes from the mall.  Thank goodness for Amazon! I’ve never been a huge lover of the holiday season- the cold, short days already put it at a disadvantage as far as I’m concerned- but I have figured out the parts that I like and have no qualms saying no to the rest. (Okay, maybe very few qualms- I'm human!)

This year is especially busy at our house.  Arya is dancing in her first Nutcracker (takes me back to my own youth!) and of course, my weekends are filled with my studies at Samyama.  So this year I’m letting go of sending Christmas cards.  Sorry, friends!  I’m resurrecting a dress from the depths of my closet for Kev’s corporate holiday party, baking when it feels fun (and if I run out of Christmas cookies, so be it), and most of the holiday shopping has been done when I’ve had a few moments to steal waiting to pick up my kids from school or during Nutcracker rehearsals thanks to the handy Amazon app.

Thanks to Mona for our first donation!

Thanks to Mona for our first donation!

Something that will always remain important to me is serving my community.  That’s an area I am not willing to cut corners on- it makes me feel good and I hope it’s showing my kids the things that really matter in life.  So this year my teenager and I are collecting tampons for homeless women and donating them to the Bill Wilson Center, serving homeless youth. Last year we met our goal of collecting 100 boxes and this year we hope to top it.  In addition, we learned that there is a high need for underwear, as most of the kids come off the streets with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  For anyone who donates a box of tampons or a package of undies (can be for men or women), I will enter your name into a drawing to win a basket of holiday goodies. If it is easier, cash donations are acceptable, too.  Just bring your donation to class or ping me to make arrangements to connect.  And if you are curious, this is the video that inspired us to start collecting tampons.  Like underwear, it’s one of those things most of us take for granted and is often overlooked when the homeless population is being served. As a birth professional, feminist, and a passionate supporter of educating kids on human development and sexuality, acknowledging the need for tampons is my thing. This project is near and dear to my heart. Thank you in advance for participating!

I’m suddenly feeling something a little bit...strange.  What is this feeling…?  Am I starting to actually like the holiday season!?  It’s a Christmas miracle!