Welcome To The Jungle. I Mean, The Holidays.

‘Once a year the holidays come swinging at your head. Feast until you’re full of pain again.’

~ Jonatha Brooke 

Welcome to the Holidaze.


Christmas Biscuits by Grant Cochrane via

It’s December 1st (as I write this) and I’m already tired.

As a young mom (my kids are now 14 and 8), I used to look forward to all their darling pre-school performances, plays, and holiday feasts. All the kids were so cute in their fumbling attempts at performing songs they barely knew the words to and dance moves that made us all laugh.

Now that they’re older, I begin to dread fall. I love the leaves turning and the colder weather (for those of you who haven’t kept up, I moved to Northern California last year), lighting candles and chimneys burning, wearing sweaters and boots (it’s a girl thing). It’s wonderful. What I don’t love is the mad rush to create a big deal out of every single little tiny minute detail of our kids’ lives.

Let’s deconstruct.


If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. In an attempt to get with it, my second-grader’s school now sends us ‘event notices’ from Shutterfly for EVERYTHING: ‘we will be sharpening pencils on Tuesday at 10am. Please make a note of it.’ Okay, I exaggerate but honestly, doesn’t it seem that way? I love that they want to keep us informed of what’s going on with our kids when we’re not there, but really? ‘PE this Wednesday.’ Yes, I know. It’s been PE day at his school since it opened. We KNOW (and we’ll still forget the change of clothes).


Kids have been doing school performances in every country since man started walking upright. You and I did them and our parents dutifully came and oohed and aahed. It’s our job as a parent to attend, enjoy, and make a big deal. And we love it! We do.

I especially love when I catch my boy doing dance moves or singing their assigned song when he thinks nobody is paying attention. Those candid moments are like little peeks into his psyche and it’s so adorable, I almost squee (and I hate that word).

What bugs me is when we do get there finally, for the long-awaited performance, traffic is a nightmare, parking is non-existent, and families are saving 25 seats in front for ‘immediate family.’ We all want to see, parents! Oh, and don’t forget the mom who takes 20,000 pictures of her child, blocking everyone’s view, while we all stare at her ass (she really should NOT be wearing those jeans) instead of being able to see our own darling kid (not to mention that there’s a professional photographer and videographer who will be selling tapes of our darlings for $29.95, plus tax).


If you know me at all, you know I don’t cook. I don’t bake (my mother will insist I used to bake cookies but I think she’s getting old). I burn. So when it comes time to bring homemade ‘special to our family treats,’ I do what many a working mom or dad do: I go to the store and visit the bakery. Hey, those people work hard to make homemade stuff for us (in their large, industrial warehouse kitchens). The ingredients are all the same.

(Hey, I bought them with love.)

I have nothing but respect for people who cook and bake. I’ll happily eat whatever you make. So will my kids (unless it’s got too much garlic — kids don’t love that, especially in cookies. Just sayin.’) I don’t try to keep up because I simply cannot. Besides, keeping up takes too much damn time — time I’d rather spend with my family watching the same old Christmas movies in our cozies.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something else (I’m hurrying to write this as we head to the mall — I know, right? — for our Christmas pictures…and I’m Jewish), so feel free to add your favorite annoying moments. And just in case you think I’m a scrooge, I will remind you that while my tongue is planted firmly in cheek as I write this, I’m no different than any other parent — I enjoy the lovely wonder and joy of the season.

Just not all at once.


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About RachelintheOC

Rachel Thompson aka RachelintheOC is a published author and social media consultant. Her three books, A Walk In The Snark, The Mancode: Exposed and Broken Pieces are all #1 Kindle bestsellers! When not writing, she helps authors and other professionals with branding and social media for her company, BadRedhead Media. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut.

Buy Now : A Walk in the Snark * Mancode: Exposed * Broken Pieces


  1. Christmas is pretty pleasant now that the kids are adults and I’ve shed X. When the kids were younger, sometimes I felt overwhelmed during the holidays, but the really annoying part was that X spent so little time with us. He would say he was coming home early on Christmas Eve. Then, he’d go in his home office and play computer games. He went out of his way to avoid anything family oriented. It was his loss.


    • That can be difficult, Janie. I’m glad you realize it was his loss and have moved on.

      Each year brings new joy (and more stuff to be aggravated about LOL), but in the end, it’s all about making memories.


  2. My son will be 36 tomorrow so my obligations are now limited but there are still the events that the grandchildren participate in and so I get to go make a fuss over them even though the show is too long and the kids start getting cranky.

    Ah the holiday season, as my partner says, “Oh surely we can make it!” We do survive every year and celebrate when it is over while trying to “cowgirl up” for the next year’s holiday season.

    Let’s just all hold hands and sing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” LOL!!!!



    • yes, it is fun and it’s magical for the kids and that is what gets me through.

      That and the Elf on the Shelf — a wonderful guarantee of peace for a month anyway LOL.


  3. What a great post. I had to smile as I read it. I think most parents have “been there, done that”. I know I have. And, as a teacher, I’ve been on the other side also. My children have now grown and left home. My oldest has two children of his own. This year they are holidaying away, with the other grandparents, for Christmas. Most years I love decorating my classroom for the end of year festivities, and I love putting up my decorations at home on Dec 1st. I haven’t done so this year – no longer in the classroom, no children around to appreciate the decorations at home. It feels a bit sad; but it sure is a lot less work!

    • I bet it’s fun to see it from the classroom perspective! Kids are darling — I love the innocence and beauty.

      It’s the adults that I could do without LOL.

      thanks for sharing, Norah xx

  4. In our Atheist household, we still celebrate Christmas. Not the Christ part, but the family togetherness part, the giving part. Like Janie Junebug, my kids are full blown adults, so no more Santa dance (is he? isn’t he? three a.m. wrapping sessions, and my patented ‘santa printing’ on the labels). No more school pageants of questionable content (Christmahannukwanzholidays). And no more stupid husband ruining everything. So Christmas is easier. But some of the magic is gone.

    • I was raised Jewish (husband is not), so I enjoy doing the house up and having a tree and presents etc. We do both Hanukkah and Christmas w/ the kids, but not in a religious way. To us, it’s the traditions we enjoy.

      And like I said above, it’s a magical time for the little ones — even my teen still loves it. Not just the gifts, but all the stuff: candles and baking and all.

      thanks for sharing, Julie!

  5. I am soooo right there with you, sister! I have come to dread this time of year instead of looking forward to it. My husband and I are really fed up with all the “stuff” in life and are looking to make some major changes. Too. Much. Stuff. It’s time, money, and information overload every day and we hate it! Ugh. Life! Love it, hate it, tolerate it.

    • Yea, it’s important to cut down on too many ‘things.’ I’ve never been the ‘go to a party every night’ kind of girl anyway, so not going to parties isn’t a big deal for me. I’d rather be home with family, listening to music, and writing.

      Ya know, like every other month. :)


  6. Yeah, it gets crazy. I try to let the negative stuff roll off me, otherwise it taints what is a great time of the year.

  7. Great post, Rachel! As a mom of a 9 and 8 year old, I totally empathize with your elementary school emails and performances. They do the same exact thing here in Indiana. Yet, as a payback for being -ahem- efficient in our reproduction, my husband and I are treated to watching the same exact performance two nights in a row. Must have something to do with the budget cuts for art and music. We have learned to laugh about it because inherently, the sibling who is not performing onstage is singing the whole thing loudly from the audience. And this year, I tried my darnedest not to laugh during the tuneless recorder playing, but I’m only human. Good times and wonderful memories!

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