|She decided Santa was real this year.|
So last year I wrote a note to myself (here) about how to do Christmas better, or at least, OK.
Reviewing it I have to say, we scored about 85%. This holiday season was MUCH better than the last three, for sure. Of course, it helped that no one had the flu and we have a working kitchen. It also helped that we continued in our yearly Lowering of the Expectations.
The Christmas Season in America is SO BIG. As soon as you've blown out the candle in your Jack-o-Lantern, BOOM, the Santas and the Reindeer and the Lights and the Chocolate and the STUFF is everywhere. There is absolutely no pretense of waiting until after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is just the dress rehearsal for Christmas.
For adopted children who have trauma and loss in their little lives (which is all of them) and/or for children with less than jolly lives, all this forced cheer and bright lights can be agonizing. It's all just too much. So in our family we try, all December, to turn the volume down. We put the tree up the weekend before Christmas. We don't do Santa. (gasp! Read my apology/explanation here.) We don't spend a whole month talking about presents and Elves. I may feel a lot of extra stress and have a lot of extra chores, but I try to keep the kids out of that loop. It's my choice to make handmade cookies for my co-workers and send out lots of Christmas cards, not theirs. So all December, they go to bed early, and I do my holiday "work" in the quiet dark.
This Christmas the best thing we did was NOTHING. Christmas Eve we went to church and had famliy over for dinner and had a great time making a glorious mess opening presents. Christmas morning the kids found a small pile of unwrapped, pre-battery filled toys, and they simply started playing. We ate, we lounged, we played, we ate again, and we went to bed early. It was great! Low expectations equals low stress.
I hope your holiday season was just want you wanted- whatever that was! Here is to next year!