Last Thursday, one of my sons came home from school and asked if we were making gingerbread houses this year. It was an innocent question, but it almost made me cry.

You see, I have been a Christmas making machine this month, on top of my already full to-do list — apparently, everyone still wants clean underwear and food to eat. The idea of adding one more thing felt like it could be the tipping point for me.

But, I’m glad he asked because it reminded me that I need to give a shout-out to my fellow mamas this Christmas. I see you. Really see you. And you are amazing.

You are making gingerbread houses. You are decorating cookies with sprinkles you are sweeping out of every nook and cranny of the house. You are doing it.

You are making and sticking to budgets, while also trying to get your kids that ever-changing-whatchamacallit they “really, really want.”

You’re deciding between real and fake trees, trying to find all those boxes full of decorations, untangling lights and trying to get those little metal hooks to work so you can actually hang ornaments.

You are wrapping presents. Heck, it deserves to be mentioned that you are even just now buying wrapping paper out of the crowded and overwhelming Christmas section of the store. And remembering Scotch tape. And maybe bows. And gift tags. All for presents that will be ripped open in 0.03 seconds. But year after year, you keep on doing it.

You are moving that darn elf every night. Or at least most nights. Why did you get sucked into doing this? Who knows. Peer pressure, I suppose. But it is happening. Oh, that silly elf and his antics!

Or, like me, you are feeling guilty about not doing these things.

Don’t feel guilty mama. It’s OK not to do what everyone else seems to be doing. You are still a good mom, even if you don’t make those goodies and haven’t embraced the Elf on a Shelf trend.

You are amazing.

You are planning the Christmas meals and creating social media surveys that ask your friends if they prefer turkey or ham for Christmas dinner. Remembering food allergies and traditional Christmas dishes that everyone will be sad without, all while knowing that your kid will probably ask for cereal.

You are buying presents for in-laws, for parents, for teachers, for your husband, for your nieces and nephews and your children. You are writing down what you purchased so that you can remember, finding hiding places, making lists of who is left to buy for and trying to find where it is sold cheapest — even if that means a hectic, anxious and crowded trip to Walmart on a Saturday.

There are Christmas programs. Christmas outfits, holiday family photos and Christmas cards (remember to buy stamps). A Christmas countdown, Christmas Eve pajamas and, as I mentioned earlier, you still have to figure out what is for dinner tonight.

You are doing it! We are doing it! We are making Christmas, ladies!

I hope you take a moment. A moment in between getting up at the crack of dawn to start dinner, making breakfast, cleaning up after opening gifts, telling Bobby to stop touching Sally’s new toy and helping put together Legos. Take a moment and look around at the magic you have created for your children. Bask in it and tuck it away in your heart. These are the days, ladies, and you did it.

Caitlin Harris is a Portland native who now happily lives in Douglas County with her husband and five boys. She enjoys gardening, reading and snuggling her boys.

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I did all these things for my 3. Now they're all grown up and out of state (one is in Thailand!). I'm a grandmother now, but they are so far away. I want to do all of this again and am looking into fostering or mentoring.


I know the feeling when one more thing to do just overwhelms you. Sometimes that is when it is time to delegate. If you want gingerbread then you mix it up and clean the mess up too. Funny how when somebody has to do more then just ask you to do all the work it suddenly isn't that important. Could be a good reason why so many people don't celebrate xmas.

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