Who doesn't love the glitter and smiles but dread the stress and expectations? We caught up with some local moms who shared their personal views on the highs and lows of the season.
Khara B.High: When the tree is decorated, and I place the last gift under it I get a moment to step back and look at how beautiful it is. There is this feeling of gratitude, not only for what I have, but for what I am able to do for my kids.
Low: I hate cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I slave all day just to have everyone gobble it up in 10 minutes. The worst part is that I don't actually like any of those foods and the leftovers last forever. Also, the guilt I feel when the kids want to hang their crappy ornaments they made at school on the tree and I make them hang them in the back corner.
Amy L.High: When we get in our jammies, pour the hot cocoa, load in the car and drive around looking at the lights.
Low: The cookie parties! I am a horrible baker and always ruin my cookies. How the heck do these other moms show up with perfect-looking cookies, recipes printed on craft paper and a sparkly top on? I am lucky if I don't blow up my kitchen and blow up at my kids in the process.
Kate H.High: The Ray Coniff, Jr. Christmas album. It reminds me of my grandpa.
Low: Sometimes, the gift giving can feel like a competition. My sister-in-law loves to tell us all about what she bought her kids in front of my kids, and I feel like my kids are disappointed.
Tracy H.High: The look of wonder in my kids' eyes when they come down to see what Santa brought. Makes me want to have another one!
Low: My mother-in-law is a bargain shopper and buys loads of cheap, junky gifts that clutter up my house all year. Also, she has been buying my husband (her son) a train ornament every year since he was born. She now expects to see all 41 trains hanging on our tree when she visits.
Jamie A.High: Last year my kids wanted to make a gingerbread house. I found one online that used Rice Krispies Treats for the walls. Not long into the process, our "walls" caved in. Instead of getting frustrated we just laughed and threw a couple of toy dinosaurs in the scene to make it look like they destroyed it. We laughed about it and displayed it proudly. It helped give me perspective on the holiday stress. Don't go for perfection. Just have fun with it!
Low: The women in my husband's family have this tradition that they buy matching pajamas every Christmas. My first year in the family, I was told to take off my thoughtfully planned outfit and wear the matching PJs. No problem until I discovered that I was expected to wear the matching PJs the entire next day while we baked and watched movies. Sometime that afternoon, I'd had enough and decided to go on a walk in my workout clothes. I got in trouble.
Andrea H.High: Christmas music. It reminds me of my childhood and my family growing up. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" always gets me teary eyed.
Low: I feel this sense of obligation to attend church on the holidays. We rush to get there and end up standing in the back the entire time. Not the most spiritual experience.
Sheena S.High: The looks on your kids' faces when they open their presents. And Christmas Eve, making reindeer chum with teenagers!
Low: First: Your bank account. Second: Your bank account.
Amanda V.High: The magic your kids believe in and seeing how excited they are. Family traditions like watching "Christmas Vacation."
Low: The stress associated with making the perfect holiday.
Melodi J.High: I love spending extra time together that the holidays allow: going on special outings, baking, decorating, sledding, snowball fighting, thinking of ways to bless other people... There is nothing more precious than being able to spend time and play and make memories with my best friends.
Low: The lows are the normal struggles of daily life, right? It is the dealing with difficult developing humans that constantly need guidance on how we treat each other through the hunger, lack of sleep, raging emotion and narrow perspective that needs to painfully grow—while simultaneously trying like hell not to lose MY sh*t while doing so. (Side effect high: they teach ME a thing or two). ALL THAT. And when the pumpkin bread runs out ...