Browsing through shelves of holiday books in the children’s section of the library, I am reminded of the CD my mom checked out from the library every holiday season. It was the Alvin and The Chipmunks version of all the classic Christmas songs. We would listen to that CD in the car all season long. Alvin and his buddies, Theodore and Simon, would belt out the Christmas classics we all know and love, but in their squeaky little chipmunk voices. It became a favorite tradition for my sister and me.
Since this isn’t the ’90s and cars nowadays don’t have CD players, I search Spotify and find a similar, albeit newer, playlist. I decided to play it for my kids on our way home, just as I remember my mom doing for us.
The first song starts with an “Alvinnnnnn!” And I glance back at my kids to see their reactions. My 3-year-old is smiling with a bewildered look on his face. He giggles as the song goes on. These silly, nostalgic traditions are so fun to pass on.
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I remember how magical the holidays felt as a kid. And now the only thing better than experiencing such a magical time as a child is experiencing it through my own children’s eyes.
That’s what moms do, right? We are the memory makers and the tradition starters.
Moms are the real Christmas MVPs. Santa’s great and all, but moms are the ones doing the Christmas shopping, present wrapping, and cookie baking. They’re begging their husbands to let them get the Christmas decorations out the day after Halloween (for the kids, of course). It’s us moms organizing gift exchanges. Setting up family photos and a visit to see Santa. Buying stamps and ordering Christmas cards. Setting up the nativity and hanging garlands and twinkly lights.
Moms are the ones taking photos of the kids decorating the tree and playing in the snow. Making Grandma’s famous cheeseball and ordering the kids matching buffalo plaid pajamas. Moms take special care filling the stockings with everyone’s favorite goodies and moving the dang elf every single day.
As mothers, I think a lot of us feel a responsibility to find the balance between enjoying all these fun traditions and also teaching our children what really matters during the holiday season. Moms buy mittens for the mitten tree at church and canned goods for the school food drive. We make a donation to the local toy drive. We do this in hopes that our children learn that it’s important to give back during the holiday season.
Maybe we feel pressure to teach our kids what is truly important during the holiday season because we ourselves need that reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we need to buy, bake, wrap, and decorate. Christmas can feel like one giant, never-ending to-do list.
Mamas, through this busy holiday season, don’t forget to just enjoy the season.
Kick back with a peppermint mocha and watch a cheesy Hallmark movie. Have a Christmas ale with your husband once you finally get the kids to bed. Spend a Friday night introducing your kids to your favorite childhood Christmas movies.
Unfortunately, your to-do list isn’t going anywhere. It will still be there long after the pine needles are vacuumed up and the Christmas wrapping paper is thrown out. We’ve all heard it probably no less than 1 million times, but it goes so fast.
One day you’re laughing about how silly your tree looks with ornaments only on the top half (if you know, you know), then you’re watching your “kids” roll their eyes at the mention of Santa Claus, and then seeing your grown children pass their favorite traditions on to their own families.
If we aren’t intentional about enjoying the season, it will pass us right by.
So take the family for a drive around the neighborhood and admire all your neighbor’s Christmas lights. Build a terrible snowman in the yard and then warm up with some hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. Maybe even download a silly Christmas playlist on Spotify and sing your heart out with your kids on the way home from library story time. I promise they won’t forget it.