My daughter will be (almost) two this Christmas. This is a magical time.
*The Elf on the Shelf does not exist yet, HOORAY!*
I’m still debating if I can bypass that all together.
*She does not care about the cost, or size, of presents. Though, there are bonus points if the present comes with bubble wrap to pop.*
*And she is content to read the Christmas Story of Baby Jesus night after night.*
Christmas with young kids really does provide an opportunity for a low-key, joy-filled time of year. But as parents we make it complicated. We have this guilt if the holidays are too simple. Like if it’s easy, we are some how letting our kids down. We HAVE to be all stressed out like all the other parents, or we must be doing it wrong.
WRONG. Stop it, just stop it. It’s not true.
Let me expose my “low-bar” holiday excitement, in hopes that it will let other parents see that it’s ok to keep it simple.
This here is the FREE Santa.
Last year we took her to the mall for photos with Santa. I was shocked to find out that they wouldn’t let you snap a few pics with your own camera. The cheapest option was a $30 digital file of the photos they took. Honestly, if it weren’t for my husband, we would have left with zero photos. Thirty dollars?! That’s a whole lot of Christmas cookies for Santa!
So this year I did a little research. There was a free Santa at the local garden store. You could take all your own pictures. There was also a photographer there selling pictures, but it was optional.
Yes, they were still thirty dollars. Apparently that is the going rate for Santa pics in Orange County. But we were happy with the pictures we took on our own camera, and our daughter was delighted when Santa gave her a Christmas bell. She has been playing with that free “magic reindeer bell” for days!
You know what I’m most excited to give my child this year? Two white, ceramic bunnies. I found them in the Target Dollar Spot.
They are essentially glorified yard ornaments, and I can’t wait to see my daughter’s face when she opens them and starts petting them, and talking to them, like they are her new BFF’s. You see, every time we walk the neighborhood, she stops to talk to all of our neighbor’s yard trinkets…bunnies, snails, ducks, cats, gnomes. *Spoiler* That is how you know you don’t live in the young, hip ‘hood, when ALL your neighbors have yard ornaments. But my daughter loves them!
The other thing she is sure to go wild for is the popcorn in her stocking. Pop Pop is her jam!
Sure, there are other things under the tree this year. Honestly mostly from family. We are grateful to have generous people in her life. But on our end, we really did limit things to just a few gifts. Three fun things, two needs things, and a book.
If you haven’t added a few books under the tree yet, check these out.
Young kids truly love simple pleasures. I assume this period only lasts for so long, so I’m not going to feel any guilt about embracing it while I can. Don’t burden yourself with other parents false expectations that the holidays must be stressful. It’s ok to set that bar low. Your child won’t notice what they didn’t get. What they will enjoy is that you are more happy when you are spending time with them.
If you still need a good laugh to help alleviate the stress, try writing “From: Mom and Dad” on a gift without feeling old. That one about blew my mind when I was wrapping presents.
OMG, we are THE Mom and Dad. Um, When did that happen? Did anyone approve this?