Ah, Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. Especially when you’re a kid.
Because let’s face it. Of all the 365 days of the year, nothing beats the excitement of waking up in the wee hours of the morning on December 25th to discover that you were visited by 8 tiny reindeer and jolly Old St. Nick with his sack full of presents in the night.
Christmas, with its decked out trees, and lights, and stockings hung by the chimney with care.
With Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman specials.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Alvin and The Chipmunks belting out “We Can Hardly Stand the Wait, Please Christmas Don’t Be Late.” Christmas, with its cookies and letters to Santa and the promise of new toys wrapped in paper and fancy bows.
It really is a magical time.
But the holidays, in all their shiny glory, can also be exhausting and overwhelming and downright crazytown. And not just for the parents who are over here, making everything all magical and shit. It can be for our little ones too.
In a Facebook post that has gone viral with over 27,000 shares, Ester Sowerby reminds all of us to pause and take a moment to remember that while Christmas can be overwhelming for parents, it can be just as overwhelming for kids. And in the spirit of the Christmas season, to show our little ones some grace.
She begins her post by saying:
“Be kind to me this Christmas… from a little person’s point of view.”
She then goes on to outline various things parents need to remember when their beloved offspring no longer give a flying leap that the creepy little Elf on the Shelf is reporting every second of their very existence to the big guy in the North. When they forget all about trying to be on the “nice” list and take up permanent residence on the “naughty” list.
Things like what happens when they eat one too many Shortbread cookies and they are hopped up on sugar and sprinkles.
You’ve probably let me eat more sugar than usual – I’m bound to have higher highs and lower lows.
Translation: Your child will vacillate between being an absolute angel to being a sugar-fueled wailing banshee. There is no in-between. Maybe lay off the Christmas cookies for a little while.
And while you’re at it parents, try to minimize the number of Christmas surprises. While they can be fun, uncertainty and a switch up in routines can be difficult for our little ones to bear.
Children cope better with transitions when they know what to expect.
And don’t underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep and keeping normal bedtimes.
Ester also gives a gentle reminder to prepare your children early for any possible disappointments on Christmas morning. After all, Santa may be magic but that doesn’t mean that there is a new pony in their future.
Young children often don’t understand just how expensive and out of reach some of their gift choices may be.
I have no idea about the value of money – if there’s no way I can have that giant lego set for Christmas, then please tell me well before Christmas morning. I’ll have time to get over my disappointment and I’ll learn to trust your honesty.
Even with making a conscious effort to minimize disappointments, sugar-loaded tantrums, and the uncertainty of the unknown, parents can’t control everything.
Kids will still be kids. They will act out. They will have their moments. They will feel your stress at trying to make everything merry and bright.
They will stay up late, too excited to sleep. And all that pent-up anticipation and energy? Will eventually take its toll.
And at some point, during all the holiday festivities, most likely when crotchety Great-Aunt Edna is droning on and on about everything that is wrong with kids these days, the inevitable Christmas collapse will occur.
Because, right beneath the joy-filled, giggly, sticky-lipped surface of your child lurks an exhausted and cranky little green Grinch just waiting for his moment to destroy all peace on earth. But as with all Grinches, there is a tender heart that just needs a little bit of love.
When I lose it, and I probably will at some point, please don’t make me ashamed of my feelings by shouting at me. I never set out to deliberately disappoint you and I didn’t try to ruin your Christmas.
Our littles are not terrible. They are not willfully attempting to destroy everything we have worked so hard to make joyful. They are frustrated, overwhelmed, and exhausted. For as much as Christmas IS wonderful, it is A LOT for our children to navigate.
So when the hustle and bustle, the chaos and the crazy all become a bit too much, just love them:
And when all else fails, wrap your arms around me and hold me so I feel the strength of your love.
And have yourselves a Very Merry Christmas!