Scary Mommy: What Have The Holidays Become?

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So this time of year I really have to distance myself from certain things online and on TV, as I can’t stand seeing people filmed on Black Friday – ravenous for deals on TVs, cameras, phones, etc., people in malls pushing others over, obsessed with getting things.

Then they show Christmas Day.

The mall is quiet. People are home with their families. The holiday is over. Until the next shot when it’s Dec. 26 and people are right back at the mall again, ravenous for after-Christmas sales and replacing the gifts they didn’t want. It’s like somehow Christmas didn’t happen for some people. It didn’t fill the hole. It wasn’t enough.

It’s different when you’re a kid, or at least it was for me, and so I understand that it’s different for parents. The holidays were a magical time with no worries, only wonder. The fact that parents can take the time to create fun traditions and keep that magic alive is priceless, and something I keep with me now.

Growing up I was lucky enough that every holiday dozens of people in my big Polish family would be crammed around tables full of food and conversation. And while I might remember a few of the special gifts that I got, those “things” aren’t first on my mind.

What I remember much more are the things that we did and said, making the food that we ate and places we went every year. That’s what the holidays were, and that’s what they continue to be.

So this year with every Black Friday ad, and every person complaining about surviving the season like it’s a terminal illness, I’m going to try not roll my eyes.

Instead when they complain about feeling burdened to buy gifts, I might kindly remind them to connect to why the person they’re shopping for is special to them and how they want them to feel when they open the gifts.

Instead of rushing around, try to take a moment to stop and take in the sights and the smells of the season instead of overcommitting to events that just leave them drained. Maybe step back and ask, “What do I want to remember?” And if they have kids, “What do I want them to remember?”

Because even though this time of year might be rough for a variety of different reasons and some things are unavoidable — crazy uncles making “breast or leg man” jokes around a dead bird carcass stuffed with stale bread, Lexus “December to Remember” commercials — there are some things we can control.

We can be thankful for things that we have and make the memories that we want to keep.

(Steps off soapbox, trips, has a piece of broccoli fall out of her shirt that fell in there sometime while she was eating dinner.)

Let the season begin.

This post originally appeared on Scary Mommy. Read more here. 

About the author: Abby Heugel is a professional writer and editor of national trade publications for employment, but an award-winning blogger and writer for enjoyment at Her work has been featured multiple times on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, YourTango, Thought Catalog, Bustle, In the Powder Room and Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop among others. She has self-published two books of her humor essays available on Amazon. 

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