Ten Things I Learned This Christmas

This is our first proper Christmas back in the States, and I have been looking forward to it all year. Back to our old traditions, opening boxes of decorations unseen for four years, house nearly back to sorts….and yet, nothing has really gone the way I pictured it. The house is decorated, but not quite to the degree I thought it would be. Our traditions? Some have stayed, but we are clearly in need of new ones as old ones have disappeared due to circumstances.


The kids? Not so tiny any more. The Elf on the Shelf that has been so much fun in past years felt just a teeny bit like a chore this year (and props to the Hubs who picked up the slack on the nights I forgot to move her.) Christmas cards sent LATE, and the doorway which we used to frame with cards is bare, cards relegated to a smaller spot so they don’t seem so sparse.

It definitely has been a season of revelations, introspection and surprise.

  1. No matter how early your children start to tell you what they want for Christmas, it is a guarantee that when they write their letter to Santa, there will be totally different requests on that list.
  2. If you bake Christmas cookies, you WILL eat (too many of ) them, no matter how strong your willpower.
  3. You’re never too young to wrap a Christmas present. Boo asked to help when I was nearly done wrapping gifts for the rest of the family, at which point I just wanted to be done. I should have enlisted him to wrap them all, because I’m so over wrapping gifts.
  4. No matter how much your husband thinks presents should be wrapped on Christmas Eve, don’t listen to him.
  5. The Elf on the shelf does NOT clean up after herself. This needs to be kept in mind if (a) she is planning messy tricks and (b) you are the type to forget to move her.
  6. Elves LOVE dog hair. This is what I’m telling my husband (in front of the kids) as an excuse for not vacuuming on my regular schedule.
  7. Ditto for dust. They can leave messages on the coffee table for the kids if you are strategic enough to skip cleaning long enough.
  8. There is no such thing as a regular schedule during the Christmas holidays. Shopping, baking, holiday lunches, children’s school events will all conspire to throw you off your schedule. I suggest giving yourself the gift of a cleaning lady on the last day that the kids are in school, assuring a clean start to the Christmas holiday.
  9. Traditions are good. Make new ones. Plenty has changed since we moved away, and we are in dire need of some new traditions. Next year’s will include “Kids clean the kitchen after cookie baking” and things like “Pajama Day”. Or “Pajama Week”. We’ll have to purchase some new pajamas or onesies for these days. Kigurumi has so many onesies available on its website, including the ability to achieve a mythical look with dragon and unicorn themes, as well as plenty of other characters you can dress as. Comfortable and fun!
  10. Santa needs time to make those toys, so there is NOTHING wrong with giving your kids a deadline for letters to Santa. Despite #1.

It’s been a crazy month, one that will try any obsessive planner to the brink of drink. Thankfully, holiday martinis are another Christmas tradition.

On this Christmas Eve, I wish you all a happy holiday. May all of your planning, jollying, elfing, shopping and such culminate in the best Christmas Day ever.


  1. Why have pajama day or pajama week just at Christmas? We do it several times a year…pretty much every weekend.

    • Because we are rarely home anymore with an uninterrupted/unplanned day! I mostly did it so Pete wouldn’t make the kids get dressed…but it was unnecessary since he’s hurt himself (he’s been in sweats, unshaven, for a week now.)

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