Life Isn’t Like a Hallmark Movie: Finding Your Own Christmas Magic

My children are older now. The jig is up when it comes to Santa with my oldest, and my middle child isn’t far behind him. But I’ll never forget when they were little. I thought the holidays were going to be wonderful and full of magic.

When my holiday expectations were far from reality, I was devastated. I kept thinking, is Christmas really supposed to be this stressful?!’

My oldest child’s first Christmas was a nightmare. There were presents everywhere that he just wanted to rip into. He didn’t understand that they weren’t all for him! Not to mention that we went to a family gathering where there were breakable holiday baubles on every low-lying surface. Don’t even get me started on the glass dishes of seasonal nuts that were placed on every available surface. Hello, choking hazard! 

holiday magicWhile my husband enjoyed his hot plate of dinner and an actual conversation at the adult table, I was busy spooning mashed potatoes into our child’s mouth and trying to avoid being hit with flying, red jello. Parenting can be so hard when you have little ones!

This was our first Christmas with a toddler. We just weren’t prepared. You can only imagine how well our conversation went when I not-so-politely asked my hubby to get off his keister and help me wrangle our curious, active, and teething {a fun, added bonus} little dude. It ended up being one of our biggest arguments to date. 

Eventually, all of the holiday stress caught up to me. I ended up hiding in my aunt’s coat closet with a glass of wine, sobbing into the peacoats and ski jackets. Our family gathering, usually so fun, had turned into a nightmare. I was terrified that our Christmas holiday was changed forever. While the tears poured down my face, I mourned the loss of holiday magic while feeling all sorts of mom guilt. Was I really blaming my child for our less-than-wonderful holiday?

Yes, that first Christmas was stressful. But it provided me with many very valuable parenting lessons. The most important lesson being this:

LOWER. YOUR. EXPECTATIONS. Life isn’t a Hallmark movie or a Norman Rockwell painting. Toddlers are loud and messy. They have short attention spans and don’t have the capability to exercise patience. now that I think about it, tweens aren’t much different, {but that’s a post for another time!}

Seriously: lower your expectations, mama. It will make your life so much easier. You can create your own Christmas magic. It might look different, and it might not be what you originally envisioned. But it will probably end up being more wonderful than you could have ever possibly imagined.

My three children LOVE Christmas. Our season is full of wonder and holiday magic that we’ve created, together, as a family. Each year, as they grow, we add something new. Our holiday magic is fun, messy, loud, flexible, festive, and perfectly us.

From our very loud, very messy, perfectly imperfect family to yours – have a wonderful and MAGICAL holiday season!

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Welcome! I'm Courtney, Founder, and Co-Owner of Mid-Michigan Moms. I started this journey years ago, looking to connect women in their motherhood journeys with one another through sharing our collective stories. In my mom life, I wear many hats - swim mom, hockey mom, horseback riding mom, and more. Our family of five is busy, chaotic, and loud. We're also silly, kind, and a lot of fun. I challenged myself over three years ago to push past every possible fear and comfort zone to grow as a mom, and as a person. Starting Mid-Michigan Moms and being a part of leading this team has been an integral part of that journey. Our small blog has turned into a wonderful parenting resource, and I'm so proud of our amazing team! Welcome - I'm so glad you're here!