I’m about to say something that you might need to read a few times in a row to believe. Hang onto your jingle bells ladies…this one could change your holiday season….I give you permission to not make EVERY moment magical this Christmas.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret….every moment doesn’t have to be magical during the holidays. Real life happens in December. Your home doesn’t need to be a 24/7 Santa’s workshop, full of whimsical snowman crafts and homemade cocoa. Lately as I scroll through facebook or read through other blogs, I notice an overwhelming trend…everyone is talking traditions. For some moms, they can look at a list and choose one or two ideas that work for their family and move on. For others (like me) we tend to think EVERYTHING about Christmas has to be an enchanting, life-long tradition that will fill our child with holiday wonder. Let me give you a few personal examples…

When the TRADITION becomes more important than the MOMENT:

I wasn’t noticing the joy in my children’s eyes as they saw the tree going up. I wasn’t full of the Christmas spirit. Instead, I was feeling guilty over not having a Christmas tree tradition, and wondering how fast I could cook a pot of chili and pop  in Charlie Brown Christmas. I was missing the point. My kids weren’t waiting for the “tradition” to feel joy. Simply decorating the tree was enough….for them…I missed the moment.

Elevating tradition :

Each year we have cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. After we open our stockings, we gather around the table and share our special treat. A few days ago, my daughter suggested that we have coffee cake this year. I immediately started to feel anxious, wondering if changing the tradition was okay. (Yep, not lying.) Then, I realized that it is more than okay to change up how we celebrate the holidays. Cinnamon rolls are not what makes Christmas morning breakfast special. I could serve Frosted Flakes and still have that cozy family moment, where we’re all around the table, excited for what is to come. The joy and magic of Christmas morning was not found in the cinnamon rolls….it was in US.

Fear of changing childhood traditions:

My stomach was in knots. My mind was wracked with guilt and anxiety. We weren’t going to be able to afford a new Hallmark ornament for each child anymore. Money was tight and expensive ornaments were simply not in our budget. I was up at night trying to figure out how much I’d get if I sold a piece of my liver. My kids HAD to have those ornaments (in my neurotic mind anyways.) I got a Hallmark ornament every year growing up, so I figured if I didn’t carry on the tradition for my kids, I was a terrible mother. Then, I wised up. I realized that my family situation is different than it was for my parents. I accepted that CHANGE is okay….and is actually a pretty wonderful thing when it comes to Christmas. I recognized that my family is FREE to create our OWN traditions. My childhood doesn’t have to be theirs. I need to consider our circumstances, budget, time, etc and do what works for our family.

I am giving you permission to make your OWN traditions (or not!) Don’t feel pressured to continue each and every tradition from your childhood, or to do all of the traditions you see on Guilt-maker Pinterest. Sometimes, as we’re so desperately trying to make everything magical and perfect, we lose sight of the things that really matter. We let the pressure and the stress of trying to busily create traditions steal the moments of joy that happen naturally this time of year. The traditions are not what make Christmas special.

The thing is, a regular Christmas is magical all on its own. (I promise…you don’t NEED Santa Claus bread or a whimsical sleigh ride to make the holidays special!) If you truly enjoy all of the holiday traditions, and can pull them off without stress or an extra burden on your budget, by all means, make your season bright! However, if the thought of having to decorate a gingerbread house or put on a family production of the nativity has you reaching for a third cup of eggnog, cut yourself some slack and don’t do it. Christmas is Christmas however you celebrate. We have a tendency to elevate traditions above what they are. Your Christmas will be special not because you frantically threw together a pot of mulled cider while your family was decorating the tree (and you were stressed in the kitchen making cider because it was tradition…)Your Christmas will be special because you spend it with your family. Be present. Enjoy the simplicity of putting up a tree or hanging a stocking. The joy will shine in your child’s eyes whether you do things the way you did them last year or not.

You have my permission to have an elaborate, chock-full of traditions Christmas. You have my permission to have a SIMPLE Christmas. You have my permission to start YOUR OWN traditions. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about not continuing each and every childhood tradition, and don’t feel like every holiday event has to be a tradition. The tradition is not what makes the moment a memory. Celebrate with joy, be present in the things you do this season, and don’t allow stress and anxiety of carrying out traditions to interfere with the moments that are happening (regardless of HOW they are happening!)

Until next time, have a WONDERFUL Christmas season, and remember, you have my permission.

(To read more I Give You Permission posts, click HERE.)