'Tis the season of magic and wonder, reverence and celebration. It's also the season when we parents get our crazy on all in the name of love and holiday cheer.
While it's fair to say we do crazy things year-round in an effort to make our kids happy, during the holidays we tend to put things into overdrive, seemingly producing a few Christmas miracles of our own. And while we might tell ourselves that we'd never do (insert radical thing you just did for your kids) again, looking back it's always worth it.
You know there's no way Santa could possibly eat all the cookies left for him across the globe, even if yours are rather delicious (Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for the win). So you help him out, always being sure to leave behind a partially eaten cookie and carrot if your family puts out reindeer treats, too. This is a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
2. Camp out for parades
If not for your iPhone and red cup, you may not have made it.
Remember that time you camped out on the sidewalk for hours so your kids could see the holiday parade up close? If not for your iPhone and red cup, you may not have made it.
3. Wake up at dawn to shop
Your kid finally sleeps through the night, which means now you do too, but not tonight. You're up before sunrise, ready to brave the Black Friday madness.
Same goes for staying up until midnight to take advantage of an online sale. You're so sleepy but you refuse to fall victim to back-orders or risk the gift you're looking for going out of stock. So this year you stay up and wait, and when the clock strikes midnight you turn on your computer and shop.
4. Stand in hour-long lines to score a coveted home item that is guaranteed to make life easier
Whatever you just grabbed, consider yourself lucky because they are almost sold out, not to mention deals like this only come once a year. But here comes the hard part: the line. Still, thanks to the new griddle you're holding, this year's reindeer pancakes are going to be amazing.
You know the photo opportunities that this season brings and you've got to be ready. From matching pajamas to festive plaid, you make it your mission to find the perfect outfit for family photos.
6. Santa pictures
While it's highly likely that your toddler may cry, you insist on Santa photos because every kid needs at least one. You wait in long lines for a chance to meet Mr. Claus. And sometimes you end up having to get in the photo too, holding your anxious toddler; otherwise it just isn't going to happen. Then you spend all the money you saved on Santa photos.
7. Go to Target x 3
You've just pulled into the parking lot of the third closest Target to your house, all because your local Target has sold out of a few items on your list. Worst part? The Target app said it was in stock at every one.
8. Enlist family
You recruit grandparents and/or your spouse to purchase coveted items from their local store or help you beat store product limits and use all the coupons. You've got kids, and that one per customer thing is cramping your gift-giving style.
9. Spend your entire lunch break on hold with customer service
Your item hasn't shipped yet, and those online inventory checks have failed you one too many times.
You wonder why you do this to yourself every year.
You decide to get crafty and unleash your culinary skills. And when it doesn't come out Instagram-perfect you wonder why you do this to yourself every year. Until you look at your kids' faces. And then you realize that they don't care if your gingerbread man looks like a gingerbread blob. Plus, the handmade ornaments are the first ones they point to when showing off the tree. Hashtag nailed it.
11. Become extroverts
For those of us who squirm over the idea of a night engaging in small talk, this is the time of year when we adorn ourselves in holiday cheer and celebrate anyway. Whether you're hosting or off to a friend's, you make the most of it so your kids can, too.
12. Listen to the same songs and watch the same movie over and over
Your kids' favorites are on repeat, but it's OK. If you can survive a two-year-long "Frozen" marathon, then surely you can handle a few weeks of this. Besides, you kind of love it.
13. Deal with their "Can I open it yet?" questions
You already know that once you put a wrapped present under the tree curiosity is going to get the best of your kids. Their inner detective will come out and they will have a new question about the gift(s) each day. The smallest kids will want to know if it's Christmas yet, and you will likely ask them to stop touching the gifts and ornaments every single day. The suspense is getting to them, but little do they know, they aren't the only ones who can't wait until Christmas morning.
14. Decorate a tree with your "good ornaments"
Gone are the days when you would save all your good stuff. You get that every day is special and worthy. So you put up your favorite ornaments and hope they make it through the season, but if they don't at least you've got some great photos in front of the tree.
15. Give them all the sugar
We serve up sweets and happily accept them when gifted to us. Candy canes, hot cocoa, ginger bread cookies ... only Scrooge would deny children of their right to Christmas goodies. So you let them have an extra helping of sweet treats as long as they remember to brush. And you have some too because it's going to be a long night.
16. Take them shopping
They too are in search of the perfect gift for a friend or family member. And with all the options it's going to take them forever to choose.
These are just some of the things we parents do in an effort to make the holiday season a bit more magical. But sometimes when we put too much pressure on ourselves, that magic can get lost and we become cranky and frazzled. So here's to ready-made cookie dough, virtual shopping carts, Christmas playlists, red cups and most of all, love.