Arizona Living’s Kate Longworth – Countdown to the Holidays!

As the calendar turns to December, the countdown is on! You’re inundated with ads telling you just how many shopping days are left. Kids are crossing off days until their holiday break is here. Budgets and proposals are due before the end of the year, the pressure of deadlines is real. There’s no escaping it because everywhere you turn, there’s an Advent Calendar reminding you the countdown is on.

My suggestion? Buy the Advent Calendar that gives you a chocolate each day, and then buckle up and go with the flow! After all, there’s no escaping the inevitable and so, make peace with the Holiday Season, let go of your stress, pressures, and worries and instead embrace these days of December through the eyes of a child.

I know the goal of a To-Do List is to achieve that satisfaction that comes from crossing an item off the list. Unfortunately for me, this time of the year the list seems to get longer and longer by the minute, as I remember yet another thing I need to do, make, buy or attend during this busy holiday season. It’s enough to make me want to crawl in bed and hibernate.

And although my family may think I have turned into a bear the way I growl this time of the year because I am so overwhelmed, this year I am turning into Mama Bear, as in I am hanging out with my cubs and enjoying the true bliss that comes with this Magical Time of the Year.

This wasn’t a gradual decision. It was the Christmas Box fell off the shelf in the way back of the closet that took me 25 minutes to plow through to get to, knocked me on top of my head kind of revelation. You see since Thanksgiving has passed, there’s been a new energy in our house. An excitement that’s off the hook as my boys start wearing Holiday PJs and looking in every nook and cranny to see if our Elf on the Shelf has arrived.

There’s an extra pep in their step (and trust me, no one was calling these busy little boys slow to begin with) and it’s a little harder to calm them down for nap and bedtimes. And even though we’re still touching off in the 70s and “winter” grass is in full bloom glistening green throughout the desert valley, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in this household.

And so, this weekend as we wait an hour or two to meet Santa, only to inevitably have a kid not be interested when it’s our turn to meet him for 20 seconds and pay $30 for the picture, I will be thankful to have this “memory”. And I will smirk with glee while looking at our Holiday Card photos (see attached) where my kid’s head is cut off in one, the baby isn’t looking in any and seriously this is the best family pic we got after countless attempts of trying to all smile at the same time while looking in the same direction (should be an Olympic sport due to its difficulty).

I will relish the late nights of wrapping and the early mornings of activities. I will be in the moment as I bake the cookies and hang the stockings. I will take time to smell the candy canes like my preschooler does (while he’s pretending to be an elf, naturally) and I will not just glance, but instead stare with wonder at the dancing lights that are strung across our neighborhood, just as my youngest boy did last night upon realizing them for the first time. I may be the one shopping for their presents, but my kids have given ME an incredible gift this season – as I enjoy the holiday through the eyes of a child.

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