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Trading in Tinsel

My goal for this holiday season isn’t to spread joy, it’s to spread forgiveness. My gift-giving list extends to everyone who’s trying ridiculously hard to live up to an impossible standard with tinsel and sprinkles and giggles and suppression of anxiety, exhaustion, and gritted teeth (ahem, self included).

For many years my husband and I made it a mission of sorts to have a funny holiday card. Last year we couldn’t agree on what was the funnier idea, so we didn’t send one. This year, as of December 17th, we’ve thrown around a few ideas but haven’t prioritized it...and it may not happen. I have a tinge of disappointment but I forgive me.

I marked the huge dry-erase calendar in our kitchen with the times for the Frozen-themed breakfast train ride last weekend but we didn’t go. There was a forecast of snow and my slippers were so freakin’ cozy. I failed Anna and Elsa but I forgive me.

We haven’t made any Christmas cookies yet, and our only attempt at any holiday-themed treats was the Trader Joe’s gingerbread house kit that I hastily assembled yesterday during nap and let my tiny furies throw candy on in the evening. The boys cared more about who was able to sneak gummies while I wasn’t looking, so I forgive me again (and the gummy thieves).

I’ve been slowly wrapping gifts over the past two days and any that are labeled from my boys are in my handwriting with no sheaf of crayon-covered construction paper in sight...including the teacher’s gifts. There are no glitter tree gift tags, no snowflake origami, no snowmen decoupage with black bean buttons. My boys did not buy those gift cards and I’m fairly certain the teachers know that...and the thought of glittering makes my pulse race, and I forgive me.

I see those holiday hustlers out and about who are tired, annoyed, and ready for it all to simply be over. I hear from those hustlers who have grand visions of hot cocoa and family game night with some slow holiday jams in the background but whose reality is falling asleep to a Netflix marathon after eating off of their kids dinner plate. It’s okay, I forgive you and I hope you forgive you too.

If you’re one of the holiday hustlers out and about, simply crushin’ it with the seasonal perfection, I raise a glass to you and congratulate you with sincerity and adoration. But if you’re a little more worn around the edges, hustlin’ to do your best but not sure how you’re going to do it all: then don’t. It’s okay not to do it all. I’ll repeat that for emphasis: it’s okay not to do it all. Give yourself the best gift there is this season- forgive you.

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