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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: 2022 Holidays: Permission Granted

By Stacy Turner

When I dropped something off at my daughter’s school, I noticed the secretary’s office was chock full of festive fall decorations.  File cabinets were covered with colorful leaves, pumpkins, mums, and scarecrows; office windows showcased autumn-inspired window clings galore.  I complimented her décor, appreciating the cheeriness in the colorful space. She explained that she planned to keep the decorations up at school until Thanksgiving, sheepishly admitting she had already begun decorating for Christmas at home.  As if it was wrong to do so. She explained that she has a lot of decorations and needs extra time to get them all out in time to enjoy throughout the season.  As if she needed to justify her reasons. 

Not that my opinion should matter, I noted that after how trying the last few years have been, if decorating early for the holidays gives her joy, then she should go all in.  After all, we can all use a little Christmas (or Hanukkah, or even Festivus) right this very minute, no matter what the calendar says. I applauded her for decking her halls early and so thoroughly, if that gives her joy.  We can all use more joy, don’t you think? 

Later on, I ran into a mom friend carrying two extra large, caffeinated drinks as she headed back to work.  She sheepishly admitted how unhealthy the mega dose of caffeine and sugar would be, but that it’s been a rough week.  I assured her that caffeine and sugar are pretty much the only things that keep me moving some days, so she wasn’t getting any judgment from me.  Often, it seems like being a wife and mom while working and maintaining sanity can take Herculean effort to keep all the balls in the air.  If that super-sized, go-juice helps you make it happen, then drink up, mamma! After all, espresso may not be the answer, but it’s worth a shot.

As we head into the holiday season, my gift to you is the full authority to bring joy to yourself and your family by whatever means necessary.  Whether you put a Christmas tree in every room of your house or leave your home unadorned is completely up to you.  If your holiday soundtrack means Nat King Cole, Michael Bublé or Mariah Carey on repeat, or simply walking outdoors as silent snowflakes fall, it’s your choice to make.  Whether you embrace comfy sweaters, fuzzy socks, and spice-scented candles, or head someplace warm, beachy, and smelling of coconut, either way is the right way for you. 

For years, I’d stress myself out trying to pick the perfect photos to create the ideal holiday cards.  No matter what photos I chose, someone pictured would be unhappy with what they wore, the expression on their face, or the way their hair looked that day.  Often, I’d end up feeling super Grinchy long before I sat down trying to pen those warm holiday greetings to friends and family near and far.  This year, I’ve given myself permission to forgo what began as a fun holiday activity, but over time developed into a pain in my butt.  And this year, that’s the right choice for me.  But whether you choose to send perfectly curated holiday photo cards to everyone you know, buy ready-made cards, or send no cards at all, whatever you do (or don’t do) is the right choice for you. 

By the way, if you’ve got homemade sugar plums and trays of cookies still warm from the oven or you choose to buy holiday confections online or at the in-store bakery, either way is okay.  And whether your holiday is low-key, rustic, or full of constant activities or tinsel, if you’re spending time with the people that matter, then you’re doing it right. 

In case you need it, this is your permission to choose the best way to mark the holiday season this year.  And since I’m not sending cards, I’ll leave you with blessings and my hope that as one year closes and a brand new year begins, you’re able to fully enjoy this season in whatever way you choose with the people that matter most.