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

Moms, Just Say NO to the Santa Wars!

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

Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘Tis Christmas time and the holly-jolly stress-induced Santa Wars are at full blast! We must say, "No, No, No!" to this mess.


Ya know what I’m talking about—the posts after post and blog after blog and picture after picture that cause us mamas to second-guess how we conduct Christmas in our own abodes.

We are saturated with ideas for making Christmas magical. The just right words to tell our kids that Santa isn’t real (why do we even need to have that conversation?) has been shared a zillion times. And all those Nativity handprint craft ideas on Pinterest are just so darn cute.

And some folks actually have the audacity to cut down their own trees!


It's my favorite tradition! We go out on our farm and our chop down on of our Christmas tree. It's as Chevy Chase as you can imagine. Does this mean I think everyone should do this? No way! But it's totally us.

This holiday information overload can make our heads whirl like one of those snow globes. And give us mamas the biggest self-inflicted guilt trip ever.

- Elf vs. No Elf

- Santa vs. Nativity Only

- Should I show my kids Christmas Vacation or is Cousin Eddie too much of a derelict?

- Homemade hot cocoa or is Swiss Miss from a package a-OK?

- The three gift rule vs whatever the budget allows

- And heavens to Betsy—which matching pajama set should I purchase?

It’s just too much isn’t it?

Social media gives us this amazing ability to commune with others. Unfortunately having a front-row seat into the lives each of us projects can trigger our minds to be encased with whispers of inadequacies and self-analysis over whether “I’m blowing this whole Christmas thing for my kids and family!”

But hold the reigns, Rudolph.

Go back to my first paragraph. You see dear mama, these blogs and pictures aren’t telling us we are inadequate they just trigger emotions that cause us to second-guess ourselves.

We can’t fall victim to this lie…because you know what? You and me and all the tribes of women out there are rocking around the Christmas tree just fine. Or the menorah. Whatev.

I promise you that our little loves aren’t sitting around over lunchables and school pizza asking each other, “So…how do you do Christmas at your house?” Or saying, “Tell me: what was your item to read that you found under the tree? What was your item to wear?” And so on.

You want to know what our kids are doing at lunch? Sticking peas up their noses and chugging chocolate milk.

Our kids aren’t in the comparison game and we shouldn’t be either.

Looking back our children will realize that all of us have different ways of celebrating. And they will look back fondly at your families style of celebrating and call it what it was—a tradition.

Perhaps some will look back and laugh at the absurdity of some of the traditions (i.e. a family poker game on Christmas Eve…yeah that was my family…and I love that we did that!) and some traditions they will pass on in their own household.

For example, elves will always sneak into my house on Christmas Eve and leave pajamas for my children. It’s just the way I grew up! And for now the pajamas those elves leave will match because that makes me smile.

But that is just me. It might not be important to you. And that is fine.

Dear mama, when we look at the images and blog posts we need to realize that the person on the other end is just showing us glimpses of their own lives, they are not issuing manifestos or judgments at how all our lives should be lived. And if they are issuing a blatant manifesto…well, they should get coal for Christmas.

Will I ever have the opportunity to make Christmas cookies in Vietnam? Nope, but I’m glad I got to see my friend’s little man cut out that sugar dough in a foreign surrounding. And I’m sure she was happy to see my son use an ax to cut down a cedar tree on our farm.

Right now my house looks like a giant craft project. Glue, glitter and paint spew all over my kitchen counter. It’s been an ornament factory here for the last two-weeks. Why? Because my kids and I love building and creating.

I’m sure my friend Amber’s house smells like a giant-gingerbread right about now. She’s always baking up something special.

Leighann’s specialty this year is making Christmas magical for her kindergarten students. They’ve been traveling around the world learning about different holiday traditions.

Tonya's kids have already had their picture with Santa. She's also probably been to the mall a million times because that is her happy place.

My friend Lacey has had her tree(s) up since the day after Halloween. Her house looks like the Pottery Barn team took a residency in her home while mine looks like a hoard of toddlers and preschoolers opened a box and started decorating (which is precisely what happened).


They decorated my tree with stuffed animals. & I embraced my Holly, Jollly, Gaudy Christmas Tree because they thought it magical. I know you are so jealous!

One of my friends doesn’t celebrate Santa. And that is her decision. Her family focuses solely on the birth of Christ.

My daughter has said that she'd like to take a whoopee cushion to Jesus' birthday party. Not sure that really hits the sacred mark, but at least she knows it's a time of celebration.

Some people actually go so far to consider Santa to be Satan. While others of us send letters to the North Pole. And others have children who misspell St. Nick’s name when they are giving themselves a homemade Christmas tattoo.


My oldest misspelled "Santa" on his homemade Christmas tattoo! Satan, Santa...some think he's the same!

My girl Chrissi is probably moving that darned elf right now because it thrills her three girls. When my son asked if we could purchase one of those mystical boxed elves I informed him that our home is already full of too much mischief and I wasn’t willingly inviting anymore into our home. Maybe another year we will add that tradition, but right now I’d totally screw up the magic.

I’m a real-life friend with each of these dear souls and we are all totally different yet we LOVE one another- differences and all.

Our agendas this Christmas should be about laughing with our own families and not trying to make the person on the other end of social media smile. Let’s embrace the fact that traditions will look different in each of our homes.

Our job is to kick those Santa Wars out the chimney.

Let’s cheer each other on—saying hooray to the mom who makes the homemade cookies and saying hooray to the mom who buys the premade sugar cookie mix and saying hooray to the mom who says sugar is not in the mix for her kids and saying hooray to yourself.

Sweet mama– the Santa Wars are all in our heads; don’t allow the whispers of inadequacies take root and ruin your Christmas merriment.

All your kids want for Christmas is you (and a few presents…but trust me… the number of gifts doesn’t really matter).

So go have a dance party to Santa Baby. Or lead that group sing-along to Away in Manger. Or go watch Home Alone for the millionth time.

Our Christmas mornings are not going to be cookie-cutter. And we shouldn’t strive for that type of holiday celebration. Some of our moments are going to be channeling Clark Griswold while some moments will be Buddy the Elf magical.

There is only one thing that should be cookie-cutter about our holiday: our homes should shout to the world that Jesus is the true reason for the season—all this other stuff is just fun. The gospel message should be the garland that binds each of our Christmas celebrations.

So this Christmas I urge you to lighten up, give yourself all the grace you can muster, put your focus on our Savior, smile when your friend tells you she just put up her twentieth tree, and enjoy the time of year when hot cocoas is an integral and necessary part of our diets!

Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” — Linus Van Pelt in A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).

This was originally published on Her View From Home.

Related video:

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.