Parent to Parent

My December To-Do List

by Patti Hermes

Santa ClausEver feel tempted to just go off and hide for the entire month of December? As soon as someone starts listing off all the chores required in order to properly celebrate their holiday of choice, I start thinking …

I don’t think I will “do” the holidays this year. I’m still exhausted from all that cooking and eating and entertaining for Thanksgiving. I’m going to take the entire month of December off. Ok, so that’s impossible, but maybe I’ll just strip down my to-do list to bare bones celebrating.

Maybe we won’t wait in line to visit with Santa this year.

I’ll have the children email him their lists this year. I won’t see their eyes light up with the magic of believing. I won’t help them feed the reindeer, giggling when it tickles their hands. I won’t have any pictures to remember my sons sharing their secret desires with Santa or his elves, either. On second thought, that will never work. Back on the list.

Next is the gift-giving.

I won’t buy tons of presents for my family this year. I won’t show how much I care about them by picking out something special on their list. I won’t make any personal gifts either. No spending extra time bestowing loved ones with baked goods or crafts homemade with love. Like that is ever going to happen! Even attempting to slim down the shopping list is futile. Back on the list.

Maybe I just won’t collect my packages at the Post Office nearly every day, nor mail any, myself.

I won’t ask the boys to help carry heavy boxes that may contain lots of gifts meant especially for them. They look forward to every single trip to the Post Office in December, I haven’t the heart to farm that chore out (and the Post Office would not be happy if I avoided them all month!). Back on the list.

Maybe I can eliminate the special cookie baking days, with cookie cutters and sneaking bites of dough and colored sugars on our tongues.

I won’t have to clean up flour spilled on the counters, the table, the floor, or all over my little boys’ faces. No goofy ghosts giggling over stars and stockings and angels with sprinkles. Oh, I can’t bear to skip it … Back on the list.

Let’s maybe skip bread baking lessons this month.

No pounding or kneading the dough, no stretching or pulling braids or pretzels, and especially no mouth-watering smells of freshly baked bread from the oven. Hmmm, not even our favorite Swedish bread for breakfast on Christmas morning. Forget that … Back on the list.

How about this: I won’t cook anything for Christmas dinner at all.

No turkey or filet mignon, no gravy or stuffing, no mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, no cranberry sauce, no biscuits made from my grandmother’s recipe, no Yule Log for dessert, not even pie. I will not go to the pie shop and stand in line to pick up my husband’s favorite French silk pie. I could never do that! Back on the list.

I know! I won’t make any new ornaments this year.

Every year my boys make a special Christmas ornament for each of their cousins to hang on their own trees, so they will be thinking of each other even though they live far apart. But I’m not going to come up with any new ideas, or help them to create something fun for their cousins. That means we’ll have to un-invite our friends who were planning on making the mess at my house this year with us. No can do. Back on the list. (It’s tons of fun!)

Maybe I just won’t make any paper chains for our own trees.

No stringing popcorn and cranberries, or cutting out paper snowflakes to hang in the windows. In fact, there won’t be a tree at all at our house. Nope. Not gonna get out the trusty wagon and twine, bundle up the boys and walk on over to the nearby Christmas tree lot, pick out the perfect little tree, load it onto the wagon and tie it down, then haul it back home again. I won’t have to drag it into the house, leaving a trail of pine needles from front to back, that smells so good! And no fresh wreath for the front door, either? How could I? Back on the list.

We won’t spend an entire afternoon going through all the old decorations.

Deciding to only put on the ones we like best, and somehow finding a place for everything, even the glittery paper trees made when my oldest son was just a baby. And I needn’t bother to fix any old broken ones, they’ll just break again next year, right? Well, maybe just the favorites, which we all know are ALL of them. Okay, back on the list with that one, too.

This year, I won’t bundle the children up for the annual Christmas Walk downtown this year.

We won’t stop to admire the huge Christmas Tree near the Post Office, nor listen to the carolers, or watch the ice sculptors at work with their chain saws, or taste cookies and warm cider. We’ll skip the model train display at the library, because we’ve already seen it every year of the boys’ lives anyway. And we won’t have to wait in the cold for any horse and buggy rides or trolley rides with our friends, marveling at all the neighborhood light displays as we pass by. Oh okay, we all look forward to that all year. I couldn’t possibly skip it. Back on the list.

I won’t bother getting down the favorite Christmas books for bedtime stories (the ones their Gram went to the trouble of getting signed by the author).

I won’t be reading any Christmas stories at all, or admiring the beautiful illustrations. I won’t cuddle with the boys on the sofa while we watch all our favorite Christmas movies on DVD every free evening after supper, either. And if you believe that, well, you know. Back on the list.

I won’t have any holiday family portraits taken.

I won’t need them for the Christmas cards and greetings I won’t be sending out to friends and family, near and far. And I won’t be taping all the cards we receive onto the closet door so it makes one great big Christmas mosaic right in the middle of everything. Well, maybe a few cards, just the ones I send every year, and maybe a few new ones to some new friends, and, oh just put that back on the list, too!

Well, I feel better starting off the month with all my extraneous and frivolous chores gone.

Now let’s get the party started!

Young Readers Need Good Books, Too! Perfect Holiday Gifts for Young Readers from Families Online Magazine

How to Teach Children the True Meaning of Christmas by By Dr. Caron B. Goode


Patti Hermes

Patti Hermes, Parent to Parent, is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it's a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at HermesParent to ParentParentingParent to Parent My December To-Do List by Patti Hermes Ever feel tempted to just go off and hide for the entire month of December? As soon as someone starts listing off all the chores required in order to properly celebrate their holiday of choice, I start thinking … I don't think I...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids