Yes, that’s right! ME! The ‘Extra’ Christmas girl. The woman who is slowly making her way to becoming Mrs Claus’s replacement, is cancelling Christmas this year. Not because 2020 has finally beaten me, not because I have Covid, not because anyone else has Covid. I have cancelled Christmas because I am DONE sacrificing my mental health and internal stress-o-meter for it. This year, I’m cancelling Christmas for Happiness.
Every year since I moved out at 17 years old, I have done the same thing Christmas day. Go to my family for the main meal, then to Steven’s family for the evening. Simple, right? Everyone wins, not too stressful. But then, as always, life happens. Now we have a dog and a toddler and family has grown (which is great). Things are a little more complicated… Let me give you a snapshot of last year!
Christmas 2019 with a 1 year old.
Spend the morning at our house. Try and get the toddler to take an early nap. She refuses and because of this we’re late to my family’s. Head over to theirs with car full of presents, toddler and her luggage (because babies means having to bring their travelling wardrobe with them everywhere).
After a few hours, we get back in the car, drive home (praying the baby has a nap in the car… she doesn’t) to let the dog out. Oh yeah! Forgot to mention! The dog isn’t welcome in anyone’s home so he spends Christmas under the stairs like Harry Potter until we make it back to let him out for ‘poo-pertunities’. Merry Christmas, Cody! Unload the car of presents we have been given, reload the car with presents to give, throw Cody back under the stairs and head off again.
Arrive at the in-laws with an over-tired toddler screaming in my face, clinging to me for dear life because she’s not used to her surroundings. She’s so over-tired and so distraught that she starts to retch from crying so much. This triggers my anxiety and I nearly have to walk out of the house with her just so I don’t have a panic attack. It’s been a long day already and the constant bombardment of presents, while gratefully received is super overwhelming for a 1 year old.
Eventually we head home with car full of gratefully-received crap that I know I will have to spend my boxing day sorting out and an over-tired, traumatised child (and mummy to be honest).
Why do we do it?
To make our family happy. To please everyone. Both Steven and I are people pleasers and we will break our backs bending over trying to please the ones we love. I’ve come to realise, it’s a really bad habit. But that 1 year old is 2 now so, surely things will be easier, right? Well, this two year old has spent nearly half of her life in the shit-show we call 2020. For the last 9 months she has been a hermit crab in the shell of our home with only Mummy and Daddy and occasionally Nana (she’s allowed because she brings chocolate). The last thing she needs is a repeat of last year.
Cancelling Christmas for Happiness
It occurred to me recently: why do we need to cram it all in on one day? We’re not religious. We only did it all on one day before because we didn’t want the other family to feel like we favoured the other. Well it’s simple then, isn’t it? If we can’t see everyone on the big day… we’ll see NO ONE! That’s fair still! One family Chrimbo eve and the other boxing day and we can have Christmas Day all to ourselves. Like a buffer, a day of rest before the chaos resumes. A chance for Olivia to have a nap, have a PJ day, slowly process what is going on and have the gratefully-received crap enter the hermit shell in a trickle rather than one big wave.
Hate is welcome
As much as I love my family and absolutely adore Christmas, I should not let either affect my stress levels. I reached a point this year, after everything 2020 has thrown at us (it really has been the hardest year for us as a family) that I’m drawing the line. Not just for me but for my daughter. I’ve decided this is what’s best for her and my little hermit crab family. Were people happy when we told them our plans? NO! Not at all. Pretty sure they all hate me now but I’m okay with that. As a people-pleaser that is my worst fear – not being liked. But when it comes to my child… to put it bluntly… fuck everything else. In fact, I welcome the hate fuelled by me making a decision in my child’s best interests.
To Sum Up…
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t let the festive season get your tinsel in a tangle. Don’t try to please everyone and make sure you put you and your kiddos first. Even if that means pissing everyone off. Look, if you don’t piss of your family at Christmas, Monopoly is only going to do it for you. I am the first to try and make Christmas the most magical and memorable time of year but even I know, it’s just a day. You can celebrate Christmas any day, multiple days! And if your family doesn’t respect your decision – grab a bottle of wine, grab a tub of celebrations, switch on a Christmas special and lock the door! Don’t be worried about cancelling Christmas for happiness.
What Shall I Do?
No clue. Thinking of having a roast in our matching Christmas PJs, eating way too much chocolate and drinking way too much bubbly (we can this year because- No driving here there and everywhere!) and giving Cody some extra cuddles under the blanket on the sofa. What are you doing for Christmas?
Obviously, Christmas isn’t totally cancelled because I’m still grabbing the season by the bollocks. For more Christmas content, I highly suggest you follow me on Instagram as I upload new festive content everyday.
If you liked my Cancelling Christmas For Happiness post, you may also like:
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