Many of us begin the holiday season with visions of pristine holiday cards and immaculately wrapped gifts. By early December, reality has set in, and our days and nights become a blur of frantic trips to the mall and impossible-to-assemble toys.
But have no fear! There is joy and laughter in the chaos. Read on to hear some of our holiday #ParentingTruths.
There’s no place like the ER for the holidays
When I was a 1-year-old, I decided that the silver, glass-embellished, antique ornament hanging from the Christmas tree was not only something I couldn’t keep my little hands off but was something to snack on.
So I did. I grabbed it and took a huge bite, which resulted in my parents frantically rushing me to the ER. They kept me for observation for about six hours. I ended up being fine, the holidays carried on and my parents learned with their first child that ornaments would have to move up a little higher on the tree. —Rachel, Chicago, Illinois
My kids were being beasts in the grocery store, so I told them the security cameras were ‘Santa cams.’
—Anne, St. Louis, Missouri
Our Elf on the Shelf took a fall one night while my husband, Jake, was traveling. My children found the elf a couple of days later, lying in the fireplace with his foot wrapped in a bandage. #dontforgettomovetheelf
—Sarah, Marietta, Georgia
Watch it with the cookies, Santa
My son, Jake, left Santa cookies, milk and apple slices with a reminder to him to stick to a balanced diet.
—Laura, Darien, Connecticut
Sleeping through Christmas
Before I had children, I spent hours wrapping gifts with extra special details, like lace ribbon, fresh sprigs of herbs or stamping the recipient’s name onto the craft paper I used to wrap.
Our daughter, Cate, was born in early December, so that Christmas was extra special for our family. I was sensible that year and cut back on most of our usual holiday chaos, but I felt compelled to make sure she participated in all of the holiday traditions I was so excited to begin as a family of three — including unwrapping her first Christmas gifts!
On Christmas morning, at barely 3 weeks old, she definitely didn’t appreciate the pretty gift wrapping. In fact, I sadly unwrapped each of her gifts as I cried over the fact that she slept through her first Christmas (postpartum hormones can be brutal!). We did get some cute pictures of her sleeping through her first reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and her first Christmas dinner, though! —Liz, Atlanta, Georgia
Bean dish or jawbreaker?
I was planning holiday dinner for our family and friends. All of the guests start arriving, and I became the hostess with the mostest. The guest coats are neatly collected, the kids are running around having the time of their lives and the aroma from the freshly prepared dinner escaped from the kitchen, enticing each guest.
We all sit down and dig in! There is silence. Presumably because everyone is stuffing their faces. The next thing you hear is an eruption of laughter followed by a loud “crunch.”
Apparently, one of the bean dishes I prepared wasn’t fully cooked — I had forgotten to soak the beans — so they were basically hard as rocks! Oops! Aside from the brief wave of embarrassment, the family had a good laugh and now, a lasting memory. “Remember that time you cooked those crunchy beans?” —Maria, Marietta, Georgia
When I was 5, I cut my bangs right before holiday pictures. When questioned about my hair, I’d just put my baby doll’s hair over my forehead like a wig to hide my terrible bangs. —Blair, Atlanta, Georgia
Not a silent night
We took our 1-year-old daughter to a Christmas Eve candlelight service that coincided with her nap time. She was fidgeting and overtired, and we had to take her out of the auditorium when she fell into tears. Undeterred, we tried to take family photos after the service by the Christmas tree in the lobby. She melted right down.
—Emily, Acworth, Georgia
From undercooked side dishes to injured elves, the holidays — like most days — are rarely perfect but perfectly real. Enjoy this time with loved ones and happy holidays!
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