DEAR MOMS, GIVE YOURSELVES A BREAK THIS CHRISTMAS!

Stop the madness!

Staged Christmas cards, over the top holiday dinners, incredibly expensive and useless toys like Fingerlings, Hatchimals and L.O.L Surprise (whatever that is). Let’s not even talk about Elf on the effin shelf. Then there’s the constant barrage of morning and daytime talk shows featuring segments about holiday gift guides for your kids, your guests, and even your pets. Yes, because that’s what we all need, more stuff, “everybody goes home with more stuff!”

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Retailers putting out feature tables with silly gadgets that we feel the need to buy in order to enjoy, what really is, the most wonderful time of the year. Did you know reading socks and cabin leggings are a real thing??? I almost got a pair of the former thinking it may help me finally finish a book.

I have to admit, it is hard not to buy into the bullshit. Who can ignore the incessant emails and ad campaigns about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Pre-Boxing Day and Boxing Day sales? Don’t forget the magical “One Day” sales. Undeniably irritating when you’ve already bought crap at regular price. In truth, I’m not opposed to a little gift giving but Secret Santa on a $30 budget is more up my alley. Less time navigating through crowded malls and more time watching movies with the family in our PJs is what the ideal Christmas looks like for me.

Sadly, holiday anxiety is a real thing (talk about first world problems). The financial pressure alone can be exceptionally taxing. According to a CIBC poll, three-quarters of Canadians would rather save more money during the Christmas season and a third find shopping more stressful than five years ago. Couple that with scheduling issues, time constraints as well as party planning and you’ve got a recipe for distress.

Moms in particular are great at turning this time of year into an endless parade of  demands, often self-imposed. Make choices that work for you rather than against you and realize that the only repercussions are those that rest in your mind. Opt for grocery store rotisserie chicken and stove top stuffing if cooking dinner has you feeling overwhelmed, celebrate Christmas on Boxing Day if scheduling with your in-laws is unmanageable, give to the less fortunate, teach your little ones that good behaviour isn’t dependent on whether they make the naughty or nice list. And, seriously reconsider the gift giving tradition. We try so hard to instill in our children that the holidays are about spending time with the family, then drive halfway across the city to get our hands on the last Star Wars Lego set. We witness our kids turn into Christmas morning monsters, moving from one gift to the next before the wrapping paper is fully removed yet wonder why they don’t understand how to be grateful.

I recently joined a moms near me as well as a refugee donations Facebook group. It really puts things into perspective when you learn about a single mother at a women’s shelter who’s about to give birth and has nothing to offer her newborn, or a family of four moving into an apartment with not even a mattress to sleep on.  No, it doesn’t mean that you and your family aren’t entitled to a little holly jolly spoiling but let’s not make it detrimental to your health.

Personally, the holidays are and have always been about hanging out with family and friends doing things we love. It’s about time we all focused on what we want rather than what we think we should be doing and invested in experiences, not more stuff. Please, stop with the stuff.

How do you spend your holidays?

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