Does it even need to be said this is the most wonderful miserable time of the year for moms? Christmas is no different than New Year's Eve or prom (or, now, a promposal) in that the expectations for a perfectly perfect occasion are always sky-high, when the reality is someone will always throw up on someone else's special-occasion outfit, no one really gets everything they want, and everyone goes home grumpy and feels bad all for the entire next week.
Except now, instead of the surly person being your prom date who you never need to see again because you'll just walk down the other side of the hall between classes, it's your actual kid, and you're either stuck with them until they turn 18 or your in-laws finally agree to take them from Thanksgiving break through puberty.
Here's a handy guide to get through the holidays when you just can't even.
There's only so much fake good cheer to go around during the holiday season, people.
1. Tons of iPad time for the young children.
While an abundance of screen time flies in the face of virtually all research on raising healthy children, playing apps without commercials cuts down on the inevitable and incessant, "Oh, wait, I need to add just one more toy to my Christmas list!" It goes without saying—am I right?—that iPad time is in lieu of actually spending time with your kids, because there's only so much fake good cheer to go around during the holiday season, people.
Store-bought chocolate-covered Santas and candy canes can be considered real meals if you serve them at a table with napkins and non-paper plates. It's basically Christmas-time fancy, which isn't like a regular fancy, but a cool fancy.
3. Want a way to do nothing while also doing something and doing good?
Sit back and have the kids clear out their rooms of all clothes and toys to donate to people in need. Boom.
5. Who said babysitters need to watch your children? Can't you hire a high school kid to come and wrap all the gifts?
And also buy the gifts? How about write the Christmas cards? And, yes, OK, watch the kids, too. You know, since the babysitter is already there.
6. On second thought, wrapping paper is bad for the environment. Take down a shower curtain and drape it over the loot.
Bonus: When your brother-in-law's future third ex-wife spills her chardonnay at 7:30 a.m., it's all good.
7. You know how you always manage to get your kids the exact wrong gifts, even though you literally did nothing more or less than click the Amazon links they texted you?
Try a gift exchange with your darling offspring wherein you give them cash and they exchange it for exactly what they want. The catch: They can't shop online and the cash they receive has to cover their transportation costs. Bonus: Cash is also its own wrapping paper. Double bonus: Tell them you accept cash to drive them to stores.
8. Tired of moving the Elf on the Shelf?
Position an old or broken camera on the refrigerator and then mail the kids a ransom note from the Elf on the Shelf saying he's indisposed this year because he's holding Santa hostage. The note should indicate he might be willing to release Santa on Christmas Eve if they behave.