Please stop telling me how I should celebrate Christmas.
Whether I want a whole lot of Jesus with a life sized manger scene on the front lawn complete with wisemen and livestock, or a little bit of Jesus placed sweetly on the coffee table next to Mary and Joseph figurines...that's my prerogative.
If I want my kids to believe that the jolly fat man slides down the chimney and brings the Barbie Dream House, and the Xbox, and the trampoline, and all of the other big ticket items I spent my life savings on just to spoil them with for one day...then just let me be.
If I want to scurry around every morning, freaking out about forgetting to move the darn elf the night before, and panicking that I'm going to get caught by my 7 year old while trying to place him in a new spot...that's my choice.
If I want to sing "Baby it's Cold Outside" while sipping egg nog in front of the fire, next to my handsy husband...don't be concerned for me.
Because here's the thing that makes me so great...I'm not you.
And here's the thing that makes you so great...you're not me.
It's okay to have different traditions.
It's okay to have different opinions.
It's okay to have different beliefs.
It's not okay to be judgemental of others because of how they choose to celebrate.
Yes, I know Jesus is the real reason for the season.
Yes, I know I don't have to buy my children everything their hearts desire just because it's Christmas.
Yes, I know I didn't even have to buy the elf and start the annoying tradition.
Yes, I know there are hundreds of other Christmas songs I could listen to.
But I love Christmas.
I love that my daughter is Mary in the church Christmas play. The way she holds the sweet baby Jesus as if he were the real life version, and not some baby doll we pulled from the bottom of our toy bin, melts my Grinch sized heart. She understands that Jesus IS Christmas. That his birth is why December 25th is a sacred day, and that he is the only reason why we celebrate all of this to begin with. Trust me, we're covered in the religious department.
I love the joy on my kid's sweet faces as they run downstairs to see what Santa has brought. As they tear open box after box and squeal with pure delight at what they've gotten for being good girls and boys, I can't help but grin. We still believe in the magic of Santa in this house, and I hope they're sheltered from the truth for many years to come. I'm not ready to let that innocence go.
Never miss a parenting story — sign up for the TODAY Parents newsletter today!
I love the giggles that silly elf elicits as they find him each morning, up to even more mischief than the day before. My kids are nightmares to wake up in the morning, except for those precious 25 days in December where they fly out of bed and yell "Where's Elfie?!!" That's why I put myself through the few minutes of torture trying to find a new hiding spot for that rosy cheeked little guy each day.
I love blasting Christmas music through my house and singing at the top of my lungs, much to my family's dismay. "Baby it's Cold Outside" is a Christmas classic, and one of my absolute favorite songs. I dance around my kitchen while whipping up Christmas cookies, delighting in the warm, fuzzy feelings that the holidays bring.
All I want is to have myself a merry little Christmas. And that's my wish for you, too.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, no matter which traditions you choose to participate in, just enjoy the holidays your way.
Festivus for the rest of us.
Did I get them all?! I sure hope so.
You just do you, and it will be okay.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.