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5 Reasons I Want to Cancel Christmas

By julieminer |

photo credit: photostock

I love the holidays but I can’t keep up. This time of year has pretty much kicked my arse for the past five years. In fact, I’ve dubbed it “The Halloween to Holidays Death Spiral” and it’s pretty hardcore.

But this year, things are going to change. Because rather than canceling Christmas, I’m canceling the things about the holidays that turn me into a crazy person. Here’s my list:

#1: Catalogs. Specifically, the big toy books that come from places like Toys R Us, Walmart and Target. When these things start arriving in the mail or the Sunday paper, my kids react rather (ahem) strongly. I made the mistake last year of letting them spend the afternoon perusing them while I enjoyed the lovely peace and quiet.

Big mistake.

Those catalogs will turn kind, generous, reasonable children into mercenary little bastards who look at you with total frankness and say things like: “I want everything on pages 36-41. Yes, I’m serious..”

The only things worse at undermining my efforts to convince my children that the holidays are actually about giving?

#2: Television Commercials. These commercials are like audiovisual meth directly targeting my children. They want everything and they’re all jacked up about it. Here’s an example of the kind of conversation I’m forced to have eleventyhundred times per day in the months of November and December, if I allow my kids to watch TV.

Scene: Family room at my house. A Moon Sand commercial comes on.

Boy: “Mommy, I want Moon Sand.”

Girl: “Me too!”

Littler Girl: “Yah! I want dat! Is so yummy for me!”

Mommy: “Moon Sand is not actually food and it’s really messy. Even though it’s supposed to look like really yummy food, it isn’t. So your sister and the dog will try to eat it and possibly get really sick.  Also? When it gets on the floor, it’s nearly impossible to sweep up or vacuum. That stuff is bad.”

Boy: “But I want Moon Sand.”

Girl: “We all want Moon Sand.”

Littler Girl: (glaring at me)“Moon Sand.”

Mommy: “Sorry guys. No.”

Boy: (whispers as if I can’t hear him) “Don’t worry about her. Daddy will get it. And if he won’t, Grandma will.”

#3: The Stores: I love Target and I practically consider it my second home. But this time of year makes me crazy. Let’s not even go there about the crowds.  Or the fact that the parking lot makes me feel like I’m playing Mario Kart on painkillers.  Let’s discuss the fact that the Christmas stuff has been out for a month. And half of its already gone. I don’t buy my kids’ stocking stuffers the same time I’m buying their Halloween costumes and yet, if you want to get really nice stuff – apparently that’s when you have to do it.

The other day, I asked a nice lady in red shirt  if they were getting in more adorable little Christmas frames and she said “Oh goodness no!” and then went back to creating an elaborate display of flip flops, right next to the snow boots that are now on clearance and not being reordered. Please, for the love all that’s holy, tell me that I’m not the only one to whom this makes no sense whatsoever.

#4: Christmas Cards. I am so bad at this. One year, I got all the cards done by the 20th of December. WIN! And then I found them under the passenger seat of my van six days later. FAIL! It’s a series of problems for me. Make or buy? Usually make (via Shutterfly or TinyPrints or something). But which picture? And does a suitable picture exist? And where the hell is it? And hold up – HOW MUCH DOES THIS COST? And that doesn’t even include stamps?

And wait. Where’s the list of who we’re sending these things to? Can I just print out some labels or is that tacky? Can I just sign our names to the card or do I have to write a greeting on each one? And just when I’m realizing that I’m going to have to pull an all-nighter to get them done and mailed out in time, the Hubs will stroll by and casually ask me if we’ve sent out the Christmas cards yet. And then I just drink directly from the bottle.

#5: Gift Wrapping. Every year I struggle with this. Why? It’s not hard. I’m just an idiot. I end up doing it at 2am while invariably watching some crap movie and wishing I could just go to sleep.  And of course, it’s always a like a damn stealth mission.  I have to retrieve the gifts from their top secret hiding place and get them wrapped without anyone seeing anything. Which means I have to do it when I’m alone in the house.

BWAAHHH HAAAA!!! That was a joke. I’m a stay at home with three kids, therefore I’m never alone in my house. I have to do it under the cover of darkness when they’re all sleeping. And of course, when they’re all sleeping is the magical, happy time that keeps mommy from losing her schmidt. And I lose that time for about a month over the holidays. Which is why more often than not, during the holidays I end up a raging B.

But not this year! Because this year it will be all different. Because I have a strategy and it involves getting rid of the five things outlined above. Click here to read my tactics for de-grinching myself. Let’s see if I can finally pull this off.

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About julieminer



Julie W. Miner writes the blog Rants from Mommyland. She has three kids, a long-suffering husband, a very naughty dog and a geriatric, ill-tempered cat. In addition to blogging, she teaches at a college she couldn’t have gotten into because she made bad choices in high school. Read bio and latest posts → Read Julie's latest posts →

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20 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Want to Cancel Christmas

  1. Manjari says:

    Love this post. I completely agree about the absurd timing of the Christmas stuff/snow boots/flip flops at Target.

    I tried to click to read your de-grinching tactics, but wasn’t able to.

  2. Heather B says:

    Ha! Ha! Thanks for the laughs and I totally agree! Everybody gets e-cards from me but of course there’s that one family member that has to have a touch and feel greeting card, so I buy 20 in order to send just one and then I feel bad that I have 19 left and then I’m running around trying to get mailing addresses for people to send 19 cards to. Do you like my run-on sentence?

    OR how about the fact, that I spend money on ornaments so that my kids can take them off the tree, break them and then hide them in their toy boxes.

    Ok, maybe I’m complaining but I think I just strained my arm trying to carry the baby carrier, an 18 month old, a gift basket, and shopping bags to the car. Ugh! And Gift Wrap – I know it may say Happy Birthday on it, but hey it’s wrapped – eat your heart out!

  3. Hallie Thompson says:

    So funny- I can totally relate to the Christmas cards and 2am wrappings!

  4. Suzie says:

    Just say no to all or most of it and things can be kept pretty peaceful. Most of this I don’t get because I don’t deal in that realm. We don’t watch broadcast TV. I avoid shopping at all costs, and do most of it online. Catalogs go straight into the recycling bin. Cards and wrap don’t bother me. Just little things to do while sipping cocoa and listening to Christmas music. You can create the holidays you want if you say no to what you don’t like and keep what you do like.

  5. Michelle says:

    I also love the marital “we”. My husband has not planned, picked, or wrapped a present for anyone in either of our families, EVER. Yet, it is always “we”. Sigh.

  6. Suzie says:

    Wow. In our house, I send cards to “my people” (my fam and friends that originated through me) and my husband takes care of “his people” same with gifts. He does his fam, I do mine. We both do our kid, although I do that a bit more because I spoil her and get more into it. Holiday stuff shouldn’t be just a pile of “to-dos” for mom.

  7. Pikachu says:

    I delegate. This is going to sound crazy, but did you know that men are perfectly capable of adressing christmas cards, wrapping presents, shopping, and pretty much everything else holiday related? I swear, they can do it. I never ever ever feel bad for mom’s/parents that feel the need to take on everything when they have acces to help. If you’re a single mom and have to do things on your own, you have all of my sympathies/empathies, but seriously, if you have a partner they should be doing at least half the holiday “work”.

  8. KateThree says:

    My hubs is the type of guy who buys things year-round and stashes them in the closet until Christmas rolls around. It’s great, cause I’m more of the last-minute oh-sh*t-tomorrow-is-Christmas type of shopper, so it takes a lot of pressure off of me.
    The 2am wrapping scenario, though–spot on. Why oh why do I wait until Christmas Eve to wrap the crap?

  9. SusanP says:

    I love your RFML blog and can relate to most of it, so I don’t want to sound too much like Gwyneth here, but cutting out regular TV makes such a huge difference! Trust me, there are days my kids spend more than a reasonable amount of time in front of the TV, but we don’t have cable so it’s either PBS, DVDs, or streaming from netflix. The result – NO commercials. It’s amazing the impact this one little choice has. They have no idea what half of the junk out there is — toys or junk food. They are excited about Christmas but there are no long lists of must haves. I chuck any catalogs in the recycle bin right away. Most of what they want is based on what I got them in previous years when they were too little to know what to ask for (more matchbox cars, more train stuff, etc). I find I have to filter MYSELF more than anyone… as a kid of the 80′s I’m a total sucker for advertising schemes like wanting to get my younger ones every cool new little people set even though we already have a ton from my older kids. My 3yo would have been happy with one strawberry shortcake doll for her birthday last month, but no… sucker me got the “Toys R Us exclusive” set with all 5 characters! Anyway, I really think limiting the amount of advertising the little ones are exposed to can really cut down on a lot of the “I want that” stress :-)

  10. ViennaDoula says:

    The mall wraps up to 3 gifts per person per day for free! Even if you don’t buy all your gifts at the mall, that’s a few less to worry about.

  11. Claire says:

    This is great. I f^%$&$ HATE how all the Christmas stuff is already nearly gone at Target (and every other store). Especially because I suspect those flip-flop are out for all those families who take a retreat to FL each winter. Bite my ass, Target. I need SNOW BOOTS. And mistletoe. And a few wine boxes to make it to springtime.

  12. Sheri M says:

    Thanks for the laughs! All are so true and totally relatable!

  13. Deanna says:

    I absolutely despise wrapping gifts. A few years ago, I decided to have a wrapping party at my house. I invited several girlfriends over, stocked up on adult beverages, and dragged out all my wrapping paper, bows and accoutrements. Then, we sat on my den floor and wrapped and drank and laughed for hours. One of my type A friends usually wraps most of my gifts for me. :)

    I have also delegated some Christmas shopping to the Hubs. He is perfectly capable of buying gifts for his family, albeit at the last minute.

  14. Bonnie says:

    LOVE THIS!!! I’m forwarding to my friends becuz they’d all think I wrote it (also a SAHM of 3, girl, boy, & littler girl!)…so glad someone else seems to be on the same page as me on ALL these point! lol Good luck to you!

  15. Luna says:

    On the other hand, do you know that it is utterly impossible to buy a bathing suit in November? (Unless you’re willing to drop $75 bucks on one at a specialty store) So if your kid lost her damn bathing suit at the pool, GOOD LUCK, SISTER.

  16. Allison C says:

    I lol’d at the Target thing. One time I ran into Target in February as I desperately needed salt for my icy walkway,and they were completely out and were already setting up a lawn furniture/tiki display in the outdoor section. Did I mention I live in Minnesota?

  17. Bella_Rose says:

    Wow, you let your kids act like that? You should buy them everything on those pages, and then make them give them to other kids… as for the whole “Don’t worry about her, we’ll ask daddy or grandma”, there’s more failure. My 9 year old knows better than to try that kind of move! If you have not established a team system by now you’re hopeless! Your children will walk all over you because you let them. You don’t have to be a mean parent, but you’re still a parent, and it sounds to me like YOU are failing at opportunities to actually TEACH your children something… Typical wanna-be parents these days.

  18. jenny tries too hard says:

    So, does Bella appear when we all ignore GP/Suzie? Neat!

  19. KERRY says:

    This post made my week! thank you

  20. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    “So, does Bella appear when we all ignore GP/Suzie? Neat!” lolololol. Now anon AND Suzie even post on the same threads.

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