I hung the stockings. I littered my tabletops with twinkle lights. I busted out the nativity set. I agreed to attend three holiday parties. I trimmed the tree and bedazzled that sucker with exactly four tons of tinsel (because all trees should look like the one from A Christmas Story– less is not more). Then I collapsed in front of the fireplace from holiday exhaustion while my kids danced the Nutcracker ballet around my lifeless body.
That last part was a joke. What I mean is, just like every year, I started to burn out.
You guys, Christmas is a kill or be killed holiday. You gotta get on that sucker while the gettin’s good, knowing that at some point you’ll need to look Christmas square in the eye and say “Listen buddy, no means no.”
Here’s a little secret: one of my most cherished holiday traditions is saying NO.
I realize this makes me sound like a real Scrooge, but hear me out. We all know what Christmas is actually about (see: A Charlie Brown Christmas circa 1965 or The Bible circa a long long time ago) but sometimes, in the age of Instagram and Pinterest and squishing our noses against our virtual neighbor’s virtual window to see what holiday magic they’re cooking up, it can feel like Christmas is about DOING ALL THE THINGS.
Doing all the things makes me feel like Christmas is the boss of me.
So, to exert my dominance over Bossy McChristmastime, I find things to say no to each year. It helps me relax and enjoy the holidays without all that pressure. Over the years, I’ve said no to one or all of the following (except the first one, to which I say nope, no way, you can forget it every single year forever).
- Elf on the shelf
- Outdoor Christmas lights
- Family photo shoots
- Christmas Crafts
- Getting photos with Santa
Don’t get me wrong, I say yes to loads of traditions but reserving the right to say no makes me feel all kinds of powerful– like I’m the mother fudging Queen of Christmas.
To prove that I do indeed say “yes” from time to time, this year I switched it up and said YES to a family photo shoot. Behold:
We haven’t had professional photos taken since before Frances was born so technically she isn’t an official member of our family. I figured it was time to make her legit so we decked ourselves in sweaters and plaid and met our photographer at the local park. If you live near Columbus, Ohio and you’re hunting for a great family photographer, I highly recommend Natasha. She’s low key, VERY affordable, and managed to make my kids smile simultaneously (in other news: she might be a witch).
Since we now have lovely family photos, I used these super cute designs to create a holiday card because putting my kids’ faces on stuff is what Christmas is all about.
Naturally, saying YES to professional photos meant adding something to my NO list.
This year I said no to a day of baking/decorating cookies. I know it’s supposed to be a bonding experience and kids love it and blah blah blah but something had to go– besides, I’m saying yes to hot chocolate so it evens out. I worked at a little tea shop when I was in college and we served a cardamom hot chocolate that was to die for. I’ve recreated the recipe and highly recommend you try it. It’s got all the creamy goodness of hot cocoa with the spicy zing of cardamom. I love it, the kids love it, and no one’s noticed the missing cookies yet. Shhhh…
Easy Cardamom Hot Chocolate:
- Combine 2.5 cups of granulated sugar with 1.5 cups of good cocoa powder (or more or whatever).
- Whisk together and store in an airtight container.
- To make hot chocolate, heat milk and add 2.5 tbsp of the cocoa mix per cup (add 3 or 4 tbsp if you’re feeling daring).
- Stir in 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of ground cardamom.
- Top with 1,000 marshmallows and enjoy!
Yes to mugs! Yes to hot chocolate! Yes to saying no!
Happy Holidays, to my fellow Christmas queens. Get out there and show Christmas who’s boss!
What are you saying no to this holiday season?
(You HAVE to say no to something. If you say yes to all the things you will be grouchy and/or you will explode.)