Holidays can make you want to pull your hair out. So can toddlers. Combine them and by the middle of December, your insides will burn like they're at war with eachother. You'll be running around with leftover fruitcake crumbs stuck to your chin, babbling nonsense about never celebrating another holiday for the rest of your life. Trust me. I've barely survived this time of year through two children and that's no coincidence.
I've made mistakes, taken notes, studied, and practiced what I've learned. And, lucky for you, I’ve compiled a short-list of surviving the holidays with pint-size children so that maybe you'll be able to make it to the new year with a smile of joy, rather than insanity, spread across your face.
If you decorate a tree:
Don’t get a real one. You’ll find your toddler and your animals drinking out of the tree’s water bowl, side by side. Then you have a fire hazard. And a kid covered in sap.
And don’t put any ornaments made of real food on the tree. Someone will eat them, and I’m sure you can imagine what kind of bacteria is living on that three-year-old preschooler-made ice cream cone ornament. YUCK. Also, don’t even bother putting ornaments on the bottom two feet of the tree. They will just end up in other places like on the dog’s ears or under your feet. Same goes for garland and pearls.
Actually… It might be a good idea to skip the tree altogether.
If you should wrap presents:
Two words: gift bag.
Kids don’t care about your fancy foil wrapping paper and handmade bow. And neither will you when you have to open half of her presents. Bag it. Add some tissue paper. Slap a dollar store bow on. Done.
If you go to visit family:
Don’t expect your toddler to behave like a tiny civilized human being. She will not. Instead, she will scream at decibels you didn’t know were possible. She will cry when Aunt Betty gives her a loud, wet kiss. And she will bite Uncle Richard when he tries to tickle her.
Get toys. Get apps. Get back-up.
Nothing helps moms more during the holidays than a good, reliable grandma. Borrow one, if your mom and mother-in-law are unavailable. Pay large amounts of money and hire one. Is this a thing? If not, HELLO new business venture!
If you can’t find a grandma to heist for all holiday-related activities, stay home. Full stop.
If you consider going out to eat at a nice restaurant:
Places are more crowded during this time of year and employees have less patience for your food-throwing, booger-picking kid.
This is your only warning.
If you bake cookies:
Drink a lot of wine. It’s the only way you will survive all the sprinkles and artificially-dyed frosting colors.
Don’t eat them. Especially the ugly ones. Elderly neighbors love that homemade shit. Wrap them in some bright green saran wrap and have your kid march them next door, frosting still on her face.
If you go sledding:
Dress really, really, REALLY warm. Your toddler will be fine, because she’ll be having so much fun sailing down the snow-covered driveway on her plastic disk in the cold ass post-blizzard tundra, but you may never see the inside of your house again. Hypothermia will set in if you aren't prepared.
Before your eyes get frozen in the open position, bribe her with hot cocoa and cookies to go inside, but not the ones you baked, because remember: neighbors.
Cross your fingers (if you don’t have frostbite) that she accepts your bribery.
If you get invited to a kid-free party:
Find a babysitter: a nephew, the girl around the corner, the Starbucks barista, ANYBODY. This will be the only opportunity you have to get your jingle on, so do it. Wear your ugly sweater and your mom jeans, feather your hair, and spend the entire night annoying all your ‘friends’ who only have fur-babies by talking about your kids’ latest group finger-painting project and how you’re sure you have the next Michelangelo and Picasso on your hands.
It will be awesome.
If you host a family get-together:
Get drunk. It will lessen the blow when your great granny tells you that your faucets are out of date, your kids need a good spanking, and that you ruined the apple pies with Fuji apples.
Heavy drinking sounds like a bad idea, but it might be your only chance for survival.
If you are thinking of putting your kid on Santa’s lap:
Remember, you are potentially scarring her for the rest of her life. And Santa-at-the-mall is not Santa. He’s some pervy, middle-aged man with vomit on his beard who likes little kids and smells like whiskey, so…
Okay, let’s recap:
This holiday season, if you have small children: stay home, stay away from Santa, forget the tree, bake shit, and drink your weight in booze.