2. Don’t try and keep up with the over the top Pinterest Mom… but do befriend her. Embracing your imperfect life is much more pleasant while munching on delicious cookies somebody else slaved over.
3. Have Santa bring one great gift, and the rest be from Mom and Dad. Why should some made up guy get all the credit when we do all the work?
5. Always go for the crying Santa picture. It may not seem so at the time, but it’s so much better than the smiling one. Same goes for the less than perfect holiday card.
6. Keep a list of the gifts you get from childless friends and family so that when they have kids, you can give them presents that are just as loud and unsafe and obnoxious as the ones they gave you.
7. You are excused from recycling guilt on major holidays; Stock up on paper plates, plastic cups, utensils and foil/plastic wrap.
8. Have fun with Elf on the Shelf, or skip the whole thing altogether. Do you really want to be stressing over a devious stuffed animal?
9. Wrap larger gifts in plain paper, and let the kids go to town on it. They’ll be distracted for at least a half hour and your relatives will go gaga for your creativity.
10. Don’t bother buying babies presents; just give them a few boxes and wooden spoons and they’ll be just as happy. Really. You’ll make up for it in a few years, so save your money while you can.
11. Have your kids write a letter to Santa with all of the gifts they would like, and then email off a copy to close relatives. They’re going to hound you for ideas, might as well take the preemptive strike.
12. Use a can opener to pry open obnoxious plastic packaging.
13. Make your own personalized gift tags using business card templates. You can get 500 for under ten bucks at online mass printing places – can’t beat that.
14. Don’t light candles near the Christmas tree. Burning down the house does not make for a Merry Christmas.
15. Two words: Gift bags.
16. If you really feel the need to have the perfectly presented present, the wrapping people at the mall do a great job… and you can have your gifts wrapped while you enjoy a nice cup of coffee.
17. Eight nights of Hanukkah can make for some seriously entitled kids. Break up the toy monotony with pajama night, (and have breakfast for dinner) book night, arts and craft night etc.
18. Put a drop-cloth under the kiddie table and a plastic tablecloth on top. (Maybe even the grown-up table, too, depending on your family.)
19. Take video. You never know what you’ll capture.
20. You know that junk box you’ve been throwing all of your kid’s art into for the last year? Hello, Insta-Christmas presents for loved ones! Add a personalized line and voila; you’ve made up for your lack of kindness to Mother Earth in #7.
21. Stock up on AA and AAA batteries. Nothing ruins Christmas like the toy they dreamed of… which won’t turn on.
22. Bombarded with gifts for the kids? Sock some away for sick days or snow days. You know they’re coming.
23. Invest in a cute apron to throw on over your dirty t-shirt and yoga pants; suddenly, you’re an instant holiday hostess with the mosses!
24. Make the kids weed through abandoned old toys before the influx begins. You’ll be doing your part helping less fortunate children… and raising fewer spoiled brats.
25. Call me, Kathleen Beck, Mortgage Lender. I love to help!