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Hey Grinches, Give Back Christmas

I have never, and I mean never, been into Christmas. My reasons are varied. The reality is, my Christmas memories aren’t great. And as an adult, there were a lot of Christmases I spent alone, not really feeling like I had family to spend the holidays with. My Grinch-like spirit only got worse when I found out I may never have children. Watching all my friends celebrate with their kids and wondering if I would ever be able to do the same made the holidays feel a bit like a knife to the heart for me.

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But this year, for the first time ever, I have gotten into the spirit. I bought us a real tree and I hung our stockings with care. Christmas carols have been playing in our home for days and all my shopping is done. We even have a little elf, who admittedly has mostly been hanging out in the tree—but hey, she’s there. And I am reading Christmas books to my girl every single night, even sharing with her some of the Christmas movie classics I don’t particularly remember seeing as a kid. Having a toddler will do that to you—she has brought the Christmas spirit out in me. And I’m actually having a lot of fun with it!

So imagine how disheartening it is that every single time I open up my Internet browser these days, I come across some article written by some mother telling me how I’m doing it all wrong—and how I'm traumatizing the heck out of my girl as a result of my ineptitude.

I have a long-standing history of being a Grinch. I’m the last person you would think would be standing up for the sanctity of this holiday season. But seriously, guys, chill.

Maybe it’s just because this is the first year I have cared, but I suddenly feel like there is so much negativity cropping up surrounding Christmas and how other families celebrate. There are people admonishing those who perpetuate the Santa myth, thereby “lying” to their kids; those who “traumatize” their little ones by subjecting them to Santa photos; anyone who gives presents, because after all, that shouldn’t be what the season is about; people who go overboard with things like cookie decorating or Advent calendars. And let’s not forget the worst offenders of them all: those damn Elf on a Shelf Pinterest showoffs. How dare they post elaborate pictures of the elf scenes they create every day, when the rest of us are lucky if we can even remember to move ours?

I know I can’t be the only one who has noticed all this nastiness. Or that it is usually, sadly, directed at those who seem to otherwise enjoy the holiday season the most. Self-righteous mommies tell them they are doing it all wrong, likely irreparably harming their children as a result.

And I’ve got to admit, I find it baffling.

I don’t understand why all things that are Christmas have now become such an integral part of the mommy wars. Or why it seems that those who get the most excited about the season and creating magic around the holidays for their kids are the ones we seem most intent on killing the spirits of. I can’t help but wonder if that part, at least, is more about easing our own insecurities. I mean, doesn’t that make the most sense? Otherwise, why do you care what anyone else is doing with their elf? How does that even affect you? If your old college roommate wants to go all out, why not give her props for having the energy to do so, rather than tearing her down in an effort to make yourself feel better?

I’m all for discussions along the lines of, “This is how we do it, what about you?” What I’m not about is the, “This is how we do it, and if you don’t do it the same, you’re destroying your kid’s childhood” conversations. Because, seriously? What is wrong with you people?

Hey Grinches: Shut up! Keep your negativity to yourselves. It’s really bringing down the mood. Like, everywhere.

For my part, we’ll be singing carols, playing with the elf, taking tear-filled Santa photos and perpetuating the lie for at least a few years ... And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone make me feel bad about that.

I have a long-standing history of being a Grinch. I’m the last person you would think would be standing up for the sanctity of this holiday season. But seriously, guys, chill. Pour yourselves a glass (or 12) of eggnog and breathe. These are first-world problems we are talking about. We’ve got riots happening around the country, kids bringing guns to schools, and nearly 50 million Americans unsure of where their next meal is coming from. But you’re going to get your panties in a bunch over your neighbors down the street laughing about the picture of their child crying on Santa’s lap? The same kid who was likely just fine 30 seconds later, sucking on a candy cane and waving goodbye to the man in red? This is what you are going to put your energy into trying to change?

Perspective, people, perspective.

We have a way of being nasty to each other. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And it certainly shouldn’t be that way during the holidays when that “spirit” is supposed to be all about spreading love and light.

So why don’t you start focusing on you, and what works in your house, without worrying so much about what everyone else is doing.

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For my part, we’ll be singing carols, playing with the elf, taking tear-filled Santa photos and perpetuating the lie for at least a few years. Because that’s all part of the Christmas I always imagined in my mind when I pictured having kids. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone make me feel bad about that—or about my lack of creativity when it comes to staging that elf or decorating those cookies. I know who I am and what my limitations are, but I also know what I can provide. And I know that our Christmas memories are going to be something pretty spectacular, no matter what you Internet Grinches have to say about it.

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