Changing My Attitude This Holiday Season

Here we are again, the start of another holiday season. The next month will be filled with parties, presents, delectable treats, and wonderful memories. It’s the most magical, wonderful time of year, right? Wrong. At least not for this mom.

I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m a holiday Scrooge who gets stressed and easily overwhelmed by all that celebrating the season entails. In fact, most random Tuesdays, I feel enormously overwhelmed by my life. So when the stress of meeting everyone’s magical holiday expectations gets heaped on top of my daily responsibility of keeping my people fed, clean, and reasonably happy, I crumble. I don’t have the time, the energy, or the money to make my house look like a Christmas wonderland or to shuttle my children from one holiday event to the next in hopes of the perfect photo op to post on social media.

To be totally honest, it’s mostly the money. I constantly worry about affording things for my children, and that stress is just magnified in November and December. I want fun {but unnecessary} things like professional family pictures for our Christmas cards, matching pajamas for Christmas Eve, and lots and lots of presents under the tree for my children to tear into Christmas morning. Unfortunately, our bank account doesn’t match up with my desires, and the tension between my wants and my reality just makes me grumpy.

Usually, I power through this season in a state of quiet panic, and I breathe a sigh of relief when things finally return to “normal” the first week in January. However, this year, I want to be different. I want to lower my expectations, focus on the fun things our family can afford, and really enjoy this season instead of just surviving it.

I Want to Prioritize What’s Important.

I’m a Christian, so the birth of Christ should be the focus of my thoughts and intentions in all my celebrations. My daughter is at the age where she is starting to understand and ask questions about the Bible stories she hears at church and at home, so I want to use this season to talk to her about God’s gift of Jesus using nativity scenes, an Advent calendar, and books. We have ample opportunities to get involved in service projects this time of year, and serving others always makes us step back and realize how much we already have to be thankful for.

I Want to Let Go of Holiday Guilt.

I’m not going to do Elf on the Shelf. I’m just not. I have enough to coordinate after the kids are in bed without worrying about what crazy pose I can put an elf in night after night. I’m probably not going to bake cookies. Or if I do, they’ll be slice and bake. My kids’ teachers will probably get gift cards and a sweet note, and that’s it. {But isn’t that what they want anyway?} I’m going to keep it simple, and I refuse to feel guilt over things I choose not to do.

I Want to Indulge in the Fun, but on a Budget.

We can do family pictures, but have a friend take the shots. I don’t have to order cards on expensive paper when photo paper will do just fine. {The majority will ultimately end up in people’s trash anyway.} Cheap matching pajamas will work for Christmas Eve, and we can drive around our city and look at fantastic Christmas light displays for easy, and free, entertainment. As for gifts, I plan to do most, if not all my shopping on Amazon Prime to avoid crowds and shipping charges. I want to be deliberate and thoughtful with the gifts I choose to purchase for my children as well as the family and friends I am buying for.

I Want to See the Season Through My Children’s Eyes.

When you are a kid, this time of year really is magic. I have so many fond memories of being a child and living in joyful anticipation of Christmas, and I know my children will be just as excited as I was. I want to join in that excitement again. I need to reprogram my brain and my attitude so I can enthusiastically decorate, wrap presents, and focus on all the good gifts I have already been given.

Do you struggle with stress this time of year? What are some of your tips to enjoy a fun, yet simple holiday season?

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Elizabeth was raised in Houston and met her husband Ryan shortly after graduating from Texas A&M with a journalism degree. A few years later, Grayson {Sept 2010}, turned Elizabeth’s world upside down, not only with his sparkling blue eyes and killer smile, but with his profound disabilities and diagnosis of Mitochondrial Disease. After two years of navigating the world of special needs parenting, Elizabeth and Ryan were blessed with Charlotte {Jan 2013} and Nolan {Sept 2015}, perfectly completing their party of five. Elizabeth and her crew live in Katy, and when she can steal a few moments for herself, she can be found out for Mexican food and margaritas with girlfriends, binge-listening to podcasts and audiobooks, or trying once again {unsuccessfully} to organize her closet. In addition to her role as Managing Editor of HMB, Elizabeth writes about faith, politics and special needs parenting for publications like Scary Mommy and HuffPost.You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, or


  1. I hate Elf on the shelf….
    Love my wooden nativity stable and wooden characters who have been dropped many times and played with like crazy for 10 yrs.
    yES teachers love gift cards and sappy notes from parents!


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