The Holiday Season, by my estimation and backed up by decorations in stores, lasts from the month before Halloween through New Year’s Day.
Halloween is my favorite holiday because costumes are the most fun ever. It’s still fall and you can still go outside.
Then there is a fairly low-stress lull leading up until Thanksgiving. It’s like epic denial…you know something is coming but you don’t have to deal with it yet.
Then Thanksgiving in all its salted glory rolls around AND THEN WE’RE OFFFFFFFFFF!
Black Friday is a holiday. You can choose whether or not you celebrate it, but it’s Amurican and you can’t deny its existence…especially if you work in retail.
And if you didn’t get all your gifts on Black Friday at midnight, don’t worry because next is my personal favorite: CYBER MONDAY where you can get allllll the deaaaaals without leaving your couch. Cyber Monday took me like three hours to order like one box of pears this year because my child was demanding attention. Darn kids and their non-understanding of consumerism holidays!
After you’ve finished your shopping, now it’s time to REALLY get into the spirit of Christmas by going to ALL THE TREE LIGHTINGS even if they’re lame and it’s cold and your baby totally doesn’t care and you don’t really like hot chocolate but it’s so cold that you hold it just so your fingers don’t freeze off and does the baby have hypothermia? Or is she going to overheat from the following layers:
1. Long sleeved onesie
3. Socks on feet
5. Socks on hands because babies can’t HANDLE MITTENS
6. Full body hooded fleece suit.
8. Jacket without a hood because that’s TOO MANY HOODS.
9. Thick fleece blanket tucked all around her and pinning her into the stroller or against you in the carrier
10. There’s no 10th thing but I wish there was because it’s too insane that I have to put all that on my kid just to leave the house. OH RIGHT. DIAPER! Which is, of course below everything and inevitably gets shit in the minute all 9 following layers are applied and you’re ready to go. THEN YOU START OVER, SLAVE.
Did you survive the tree lighting? Now you’re READY FOR ZOO LIGHTS! Babies love lights, right?! It’s true. And my baby’s favorite light was the one on the vending machine by the bathrooms which had a lion on it which she proudly exclaimed was a “DAT” (cat). She cried the whole rest of Zoolights.
Take your baby with you to cut down a Christmas tree and then decorate it and surround it with a baby gate and hope for the best. Try not to think about your child dying by being crushed by a Christmas symbol. Vacuum constantly so she doesn’t ingest too many pine needles.
Your baby has just developed stranger anxiety. Take her to meet Santa. It will be fine.
Also holidays parties. Dress your baby girl in the most bow-filled outfit and shove the Mary Janes on her precious toesies. Make sure you have a back up precious outfit for when your little princess throws up on herself because, of course, she has gagged on her own snot. Call it teething and TELL NO ONE because you cannot be quarantined right now. YOU HAVE PLACES TO GO.
Your family is visiting I’m sure and they all want to hold the baby but you’re the one who still has to get up at 6am with her because she survives by drinking your bodily fluids so, even though you were up late cooking and making the house presentable for guests, you’re still up early. Fortunately, spouse has time off so he relieves you and you either go back to bed or take a shower before everyone else needs to get in there…you choose bed and wear extra deodorant.
You host Christmas Eve at your house because then you can be home in time for baby’s bedtime and can go put her to bed while your father in law does dishes because he’s super good at them but you have SO MANY DISHES that only one load makes it in and then there’s more dishes which your husband does (and tells you all about so you can throw him a parade).
The baby is kinda worked up from hanging out with her cool older cousins who got cool light up laser guns from your cool sister and all the LIGHTS (baby loves lights) so bedtime takes a while and then you still have to stuff stockings and put presents under the tree and prep for Christmas morning breakfast.
You can’t sleep because you’re excited/nervous for Christmas. You hope you remembered everything and everyone and that everyone has a good time and enough food. You stare at the baby monitor until she wakes up and then you let her be really loud in the living room so everyone else wakes up and you can get to…
THE MAIN EVENT!
Everyone likes the presents! Even the baby—you weren’t sure she cared. She ate only a little wrapping paper. You surprised your husband with an ornament with imprint of the baby’s foot and he was pleased.
You don’t need any gifts because the greatest gift of all is seeing your family happy.
Just kidding. The best gift of all is a Roomba (thanks, Dad).
The baby has the best nap of her life after being worn out by pure commercial bliss and you make and eat a leisurely breakfast and all is well. You made it. You succeeded at Christmas. You won Christmas.
Now you just have five more days of family togetherness and it’s NEW YEARS.
You have two options for your first NYE as a parent:
1. Hire a babysitter and spend hundreds of dollars to go out to a lame bar and pay for overpriced drinks or go to a house party and make small talk while wondering if the girls there who have never had kids can see your spanx.
2. Stay home. Go to bed at 9.
I’m choosing option 2. Because, even though I won Christmas, I’m EXHAUSTED.
I was too busy having fun with baby’s first holiday season to actual have all that much fun.
And one afternoon between Christmas and New Years, I crashed. She wouldn’t go down for a nap, and I REALLY needed her to take that nap. She was supposed to be falling asleep in my arms but instead she was smacking me in the face and banging her head into mine. I started to cry, so tired from hosting and dressing myself and being around adult humans, that I almost didn’t realize what my child was doing. She was pat patting me. Until that day, she’d only ever pulled my (or the cats’…or the other kids’) hair. But she was pat patting me. And the banging of her head against me, that was her giving me kisses. Wide open mouthed baby kisses. Unprovoked love from a baby is a rare and glorious gift.
Almost as good as a Roomba.
New Year’s Day I will pack up all the Christmas décor and the husband will drag the tree to the curb. I will let Roomba, my new bff, scoop up any holiday remnants and we will resume regular life. I’m sure I will feel, as I do every year, a bittersweet nostalgia for the family togetherness, the claustrophobic crushing of love I feel when my house is full of people making messes and being nice to me. I will feel like a weight is being lifted off of me. And we’ll talk about next year. Because this year was just a dress rehearsal…next year will be Toddler’s First Holiday Season and then, THEN, it’ll REALLY be crazy.