Are you overwhelmed or genuinely loving this holiday season? | Toddling Through the Silicon Valley | Cheryl Bac | Palo Alto Online |

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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Are you overwhelmed or genuinely loving this holiday season?

Uploaded: Dec 7, 2013
In the midst of the holiday season, a new (or experienced) parent can easily get overwhelmed with all of the crafts, baking, decorations, and events going on.  Some families genuinely love this time of the year while others are stressed out to the max. 

As the mother of a toddler, I feel less pressure this holiday season compared to last.  Baby's firsts can carry a lot of weight: the first step, word, Halloween costume, Christmas gift, etc.  But the second?  Not so much.  We are in a sweet spot where I can experiment and casually check out a variety of new holiday festivities.  What traditions do my husband and I enjoy?  Which ones were not great for a toddler, but would be perfect in a couple of years? 

My son is old enough to enjoy the sounds and lights of the season, but young enough not to be disappointed when events don't go as planned.  When the line for Santa is too long, we come back on another day; when I run out of an ingredient, we improvise or just wait another week to make Christmas goodies (who cares if they end up being New Year's treats instead)? 

Seeing the holiday season through the eyes of a toddler is something that I hope everyone can experience at some point in their lives. And it's even better when the pressure is off. 

Do you love the holiday season, or can January not come quick enough?
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

In our home we try to play down the holidays as we have so many outside pressures until later in the month. We like to decorate just before Christmas Eve and leave all the special foods until Christmas Day and afterwards. The practical aspect is that we still have school, homework, school projects and we need to get laundry and chores done as well. As they get older, the school pressures with finals, performances, etc. makes December very hectic. If grandparents or extended want to visit or to have you over for a family gathering it becomes a nightmare to schedule so it really is better to leave these until the lull between Christmas and New Year. And for younger children who are excited about receiving presents, the longer you leave putting up the tree the better as their excitement can mean lack of sleep, lack of eating sensibly and grumpiness as a result. Leaving it as late as possible and as short as possible really helps.

The other thing I discovered is that as January rolls round and if everything gets put away without them noticing they don't understand. It is better to at least try to get them to help and at least to see where stuff get stored. Explain that Christmas comes every year and they will be needed again when they are a year older. It is good to point out that they will be a year older, a year advanced in school, have experienced all the fun of other celebrations, birthdays, etc. and summer, and then there will be a "next Christmas".

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4 - Thanks for reading and commenting. It sounds like you came up with great ways to keep the holiday season enjoyable for you and your family. I like the idea of having the kids help put everything away in January.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm

I'm overwhelmed and genuinely loving all the time.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sally Torbey, a resident of Palo Alto High School,
on Dec 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

"Overwhelmed and genuinely loving it" sums up the holidays (and parenting in general) for me as well!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mom and Sally Torbey - thanks for reading and commenting. What a great attitude to have about the holidays and parenting!

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The 36th annual Moonlight Run and Walk is Friday evening, October 2, wherever you are! Proceeds go to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, benefiting local non-profits that serve families and children in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Join us under the light of the full Harvest Moon on a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon.

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