Mommyish Poll: Does Motherhood Make The Holidays Happier?

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There are two competing narratives of the holiday season. One that I feel particularly connected to is full of warmth and fuzziness. It involves smiling families gathering around gourmet meals and exchanging meaningful presents. I know. A little unrealistic, but I think every mother wants to create this picturesque holiday experience for her family.

But increasingly, another story is dominating the holidays. It presents the month of December as a challenge to get through. It focuses on the woman with pepper spray at Walmart on Black Friday. It laments all the crazy relative and family togethers. From this view, the carolers are obnoxious, the lights are tacky and Santa is just a symbol of gross consumption.

I can see where this second story appeals to people. This is a hectic and stressful time of month, filled with weeks of preparation for two days worth of gift-giving and family togetherness. We spend thousands of dollars on presents that our family may or may not love, on toys that our kids may or may not play with. There’s plenty to convince us that the glass is half empty.

And then we see our kids faces light up at the mention of Santa and his elves. Our little ones write letters confessing the toys of their dreams. We get out ornaments from the kids’ first Christmas. Parents get to recreate all the magic of the holidays for their families, and that seems to melt away all that cynicism.

Maybe it’s not the children that keeps the holidays positive and exciting, but they certainly seem to help me focus on that first narrative. What about our readers? Have you enjoyed this happy season more since you had kids?

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