Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

Embrace the Chaos: Surviving the Holiday Season with Kids

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


Here we go again! It’s holiday time. Bring on the Christmas cards I never send out, pictures of children crying in Santa’s lap and the excitement of getting to watch your kids open presents on Christmas morning.

The holidays are fun, but they can also be extremely stressful, at least for me.

Let me start by saying that I consider myself a good parent. I do everything I can to make sure I am raising kind and loving children, but let’s be real, no one is perfect. I have fed my kids their fair share of fast food and have lost it over their inability to pick up after themselves.

One thing that used to bring me extreme anxiety was how my kids acted at holiday parties and family gatherings. My expectations for them to be tiny delicate angels and play quietly with one toy at a time were farfetched and laughable.

My husband and I are lucky enough to have a good deal of family in town, so our Christmases and Thanksgivings are more like turkey-fueled mini-marathons. I used to overly apologize when my toddler would have a meltdown or when my newborn would spit-up on someone’s fancy Christmas dress.

But here is what I have learned about the holidays. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE CHAOS. Embrace it. Love it. Your kids will only be this little once. You will only get to enjoy seeing their faces light up on Christmas morning so many times. Holidays are about making memories, not frantically chasing your toddler around. Let it fly for once and relax.

This year, I will have a three year old – nicknamed Hurricane Henry for a very good reason – and a six month old. And I plan on embracing the chaos and thoroughly enjoying the holiday season.

Even though most of or all of the following scenarios will occur, I will not lose my cool.

  • There will be sugar. So much sugar. Every grandparent, aunt, uncle and fourth cousin will be sneaking my child an icing covered cookie when they think I’m not looking. I will not get upset. I will not attempt to pry the fifth cookie from Henry’s slobbery little toddler hands. I will let him eat the cookies. I will not lose my cool.
  • One of my kids will open a present that contains at least 7,523 pieces in the living room with twelve of their cousins sitting next to them. Pieces will be lost. Adults will step on Legos and endure extreme pain. But I will not lose my cool.
  • We will be in a rush to make it to church on time to get a seat. Henry will insist on wearing his rain boots with his nice outfit. Simon will spit up all over his adorable embroidered one piece outfit with matching hat that I swore I would never dress my kid in. But I will not lose my cool.
  • Their church outfits will be completely destroyed – except for the rain boots - by the end of the night. There is also a large chance Henry will get another sucker stuck in his hair. But I will not lose my cool.
  • I will not freak out when they miss their naps. I love a good routine but it’s okay to stray from the plan every once and a while. And when they meltdown because they missed their naps, I will hand them to their grandparents that said they don’t need naps on holidays and pour myself a glass of wine. Because I will not lose my cool.
  • I will let them stay up past their bedtimes. We only get to spend quality time with the entire family every so often. I will let them play with their new toys and run off their sugar highs with their cousins. Yes, I will pay the price the next day but I will not lose my cool.

The holidays for the Johnson family can be total chaos. I am sure they are for every family. So embrace it. Enjoy it. Eat the icing covered cookies. And enjoy making memories with your little ones. Because they don’t stay this little forever.

For more, follow my blog at

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.