Monday night, I had just climbed into bed, totally exhausted from a weekend trip that involved driving 8+ hours each way and non-stop adventure. I closed my eyes, seconds from falling asleep, when my older son yelled from his room “Oh Mommy, that Rubix cube that we couldn’t solve? I left it for the elves to do while we are sleeping! Great idea, right?!”

What?!?! I told him I wasn’t sure that the Scout Elves (the Elf on the Shelf) could do that but he insisted they could. So, I stayed awake for 20 more minutes, then sneaked downstairs. I spent 10 minutes in the closet with the light on trying to solve the thing. It wasn’t a real one, it was a knock-off we bought from a rest stop somewhere in Pennsylvania. I couldn’t get the stickers off. I almost cried and smashed the stupid thing.

I gave up and sent the following text to my wife, who was working until midnight:

text2

So, I put it under her pillow and fell asleep. I woke up in the morning slightly panicked and went downstairs. On the kitchen table, I found this:

rubix

Done. Broken and taped back together (apparently you can’t break apart and rebuild the knock-off ones), but done. So we told the boys that the elves didn’t want them messing it up again.

Later, as I was driving to work, I was thinking about how this was all so ridiculous. We are both tired and this is what we are doing when we should be resting. But I do acknowledge that this work and ridiculousness does have a purpose.

I get stressed by the holidays and I’m not even a little bit of a perfectionist. I honestly don’t know how you people who strive for the perfect tree, perfect Christmas cards, best baked cookies and most creative Elf on the Shelf ideas hold your SH*T together at all.

I am busy at work, I’m getting tired of the growing traffic on the commute, I’m feeling stressed about what I haven’t done yet, what obligations we are going to actually attend and who we may be pissing off in the process. But I am refusing to be whiny about the holiday season and I am not going to let “holiday stress” make me cranky.

So, as I’ve perused some articles from my usual go-to sites, I put together a cheat sheet for my fellow moms who are not going to let the holiday craziness rule them.

Whether you practice mindfulness or not, this is my proposed cheat sheet for getting through the holidays (get the pdf here):

10-tips-for-not-losing-your

 

Before you print this out as your Holiday Survival Guide, let me just say that I haven’t mastered this either – but let’s roll with it. I am trying.

I am trying to stop and see the magic that my kids see. I am trying to find fun in the Elf on the Shelf shenanigans and the careful dance that is Santa Claus. I’m not getting frustrated at the long lines or the stressed clerks.

Above all….

Take the time to enjoy the people you are with, the magic in the air, and the wonderment and excitement of the children in your universe. Laugh more. Smile More and…just Enjoy the Magic that is the Season.

 

Resources:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16679/20-mindful-habits-to-practice-for-a-happier-holiday.html
https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/how/7-simple-steps-manage-holiday-stress
https://www.gaia.com/article/5-ways-infuse-holidays-mindfulness
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201311/6-quick-and-easy-mindfulness-tips-combat-holiday-stress
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/11/21/6-mindful-ways-to-minimize-holiday-stress/
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27861/6-strategies-for-coping-with-holiday-stress-from-a-recovering-addict.html