A No-Bullshit Holiday Newsletter

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It’s that time of year – the time of year when Christmas cards come pouring in through our mailboxes, and many of them are accompanied by The Holiday Newsletter.

The Holiday Newsletter is the written version of a selfie, all filtered, airbrushed, framed, and presented for other people’s admiration. I’ve done it myself: you mine your calendar over the past year for highlights, putting the best spin possible on the mundane shit that nobody else really cares about so that you may present to people you rarely, if ever, actually see An Awesome Life that proves what An Awesome Person you are.

Let’s cut the crap, okay? Frankly, it takes too much work to embellish and shine everything up to fill up a one- or two-page newsletter that your recipients are going to smirk and snark and roll their eyes over in the privacy of their homes (while you imagine they’re oohing and ahhing), while simultaneously feeling like shit because their life, by comparison, doesn’t measure up.

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Instead, how about a No-Bullshit Holiday Newsletter instead? Here’s mine…

Dear Far Flung Friends –

Wow, another year – gone.  Doesn’t it feel like we are all hurtling faster and faster towards death? That’s sure what it feels like to me.

So, yeah, I thought I’d take a few minutes between loads of laundry, wiping butts, and catching up on Duck Dynasty episodes to catch you all up on the doings at our house this past year.

2013 pretty much sucked. I mean, we have enough food to eat, a roof over our heads, blah blah blah, but, you know, things could have been better. LOL!

The kids didn’t really do anything that stands out. Kevin’s acne has gotten pretty bad. I’m sure he didn’t get that from me. I mean, yeah, so I still get zits every month around that time, but I never had acne per se. He finally got off his ass and got a job after we hounded him for months, so there’s that. Be thankful for the little things, right?  

Joey is no longer in GATE at school. We pulled him because he couldn’t hack it, and we didn’t want the embarrassment of him being kicked out. He still plays baseball. Ho hum. 

The twins are growing up! Annabelle now regularly has BO (P.U.!), and Daisy is prone to hysterical outbursts.  Womanhood is right around the corner! It’ll be really great when we have three girls in full-blown puberty right about the time I should be going through menopause!

Lilah’s still pretty cute, which is a good thing since she’s becoming kind of a brat. Finn still has Down syndrome.  We’re thinking of trying hypnosis next – I read an article in one of those news magazines (I think it was The Enquirer) that hypnosis can pretty much cure anything.  Scarlett just makes me tired.  God, babies are demanding!

We’ve been pretty healthy this year, except for that run of diarrhea (get it? “Run”? HA HA HA!). Oh, and the kids had lice a couple months back. I’m pretty sure we got rid of it.

We didn’t go on vacation this year – we couldn’t afford it, plus, we just have too many damn kids now. A real vacation would be getting away from them! Ha ha. Michael lost his job, but is trying to work for himself now. We’ll see how that goes! 

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Speaking of money, I’m trying to sock some away for bladder repair surgery – this peeing myself all the time is the pits! Well, it’s either that or the boob job I’ve been dreaming about forever – still trying to decide which since we’ll never be able to afford both. Unless I borrow from one of the kids’ college funds . . . ha! Who am I kidding?  What college funds?!

The house is pretty much falling apart, but hey, who wants to fix it up with all these curtain-climbers running around?! I wouldn’t call it squalor, exactly, but . . . well, anyway. I bet you can’t guess which one of us has become intimately acquainted with antidepressants, and which one of us has become intimately acquainted with booze! My lips are sealed.

Anyway!  Well, happy holidays!  Until next year –

Lisa

Well, maybe not.

Related post: Elf on The Shelf… Gone Bad

The Scary Mommy Gift Guide For Good

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Welcome to The Scary Mommy Gift Guide For Good!

Each of the companies listed below have been generous supporters of Scary Mommy Nation and the Thanksgiving Project. We depend on donations like these to cover the overhead we deal with (shipping, Paypal fees, gift card processing etc.) so that each and every dollar of your donation goes directly to families in need.

As you begin your holiday shopping this year, please consider supporting the wonderful businesses who supported us…

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ISeeMe offers the sweetest personalized books for kids with amazing messages. Books are always a great gift, but making your own kid the star of a book takes reading to a whole new level. The books celebrate the uniqueness of each and every child, as well as building reading and vocabulary skills. Their newest book, I Can Change the World, teaches kids that they can make a real difference in the world around them. What’s not to love about that? Use coupon code ScaryMommy for 20% off site wide at ISeeMe.com 12/1 through 12/16 (cannot be combined with other coupon codes. 12/16 is the last day to order for US, standard delivery for Christmas.)

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The Vintage Pearl creates personalized jewelry and keepsakes that are hand stamped and customized with names, initials, dates, or words of inspiration. Each piece is handmade using sterling silver, freshwater pearls and birthstone crystals their Tulsa, Oklahoma studio. You can truly find something for anyone at their site and gifts from here are always a hit – trust me!

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Buh-bye, Barbie. Dream Big Toy Company created Go! Go! Sports Girls as a fun and educational way to promote self-appreciation and the benefits healthy living for young girls. They have been awarded Dr. Toy’s 2014 10 Best and 100 Best Awards, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award and Creative Child Magazine’s 2014 Seal of Excellence Award and Product of the Year Award.

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Ever gone bra shopping with your tween and wondered where the young and realistic bras for girls are? Look no further. Yellowberry strives to help young girls feel comfortable and confident with their changing bodies. It is the start of a bra movement that is centered around a strong social message to empower young girls with great confidence. Yellowberry bras are more than just bras for a girl to wear, but bras that stand for something more. What better message can a girl receive than, “You have the potential to do anything in the world, if you just go out and do it.”

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Crafter’s Companion brings you products to make crafting a little bit easier, including the Spectrum Noir coloring system, the Ultimate Pro & more. If you craft yourself or have a crafter in your life, skip AC Moore (boo!) and do your shopping somewhere who gives back instead. Scary Mommies: Save 20% on your first order with coupon code SCARY.

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Looking for something… adult for the holidays? Love Stuff has everything you can imagine and more. (Seriously, DO NOT click the link if there are kids around.) Whether you’re the type of person who blushes while buying KY or has much kinkier taste, you’ll find something for the bedroom here.

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Thank you again to these wonderful companies, and happy shopping!

What Have The Holidays Become?

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The music, the decorations, the sale ads — the holidays are already here, whether you’re ready or not. Right now there are thousands — if not millions — of people out taking advantage of “Black Friday” deals, sales that started even before the turkey had cooled on the table.

Like a lot of people, I sometimes find this time of year to be hard. Between the loss of family gatherings due to time and distance, the rampant and unnecessary consumerism, no holiday break, a dash of deep depression and a partridge in a pear tree, I would much rather just skip to January 2.

There won’t be a big family meal, and come Christmas there won’t be many — if any — gifts. Times are tight and money is even tighter, regardless of the date on the calendar.

I’ve never been bitter because we don’t have money for things, but I do get annoyed that others are so obsessed with those things.

However, I get it. It’s easy to feel pressured to buy things, eat foods that don’t make you feel good and stress about spending time with people you might not enjoy all that much except in small doses.

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When that’s no longer an option, you learn a valuable lesson — be better, not bitter, and be thankful for all that you have.

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.

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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.

Related post: 5 Promises I’m Making For The Holiday Season

15 Tips For Surviving The Holidays

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Do you find your self running in circles, screaming like a wild woman,“The holidays are coming! The HOLIDAYS are coming!” days before the crush of mass gifting and familial eating are to begin? You’re not alone.

Hanukkah, based on the Jewish calendar, moves around every year, unlike Christmas or New Years, and sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Though, even if it were the same day every year, I would still wait to the last minute; Nothing like the thrill and excitement of being on deadline – I get my kicks where I can.

An hour before family is to arrive for my home cooked dinner – and by home cooked I mean take-out on our nice dishes – I put a few menorahs here, a few dreidels there, and when I’m really on fire, I hang our dreidel stockings on the mantle with scotch tape, and wrap our banister with shiny blue and silver tinsel that looks like Liberace lives here. I like to make it festive. I’m classy like that. (Watch out, Martha Stewart.)

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It truly is a glorious time of year. I love the “Festival of Lights”, Christmas lights, and good lighting in general. I can’t see worth a damn these days so I can finally find my way around when the city is all nice and lit up.

But the days are flying by and I am feeling less joyous and more ravenous, as my procrastination is at record high and my gift list for family, friends, and teachers has expanded like my waist-line after inhaling a box of See’s. There is much to do, like figure out how to record my favorite shows I’ll be missing when I entertain the family and which restaurant we’ll choose to do take-out from. Where are Santa’s elves when I need them?

The holidays just wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t drive you batty, but a little less stress wouldn’t kill us either. So I put together some tips to help lighten your load. Here goes:

1. Tell everyone you’re going out of town… but don’t actually leave.

2. Never go to the same hairdresser or manicurist more than once. One less gift!

3. Hide your scale and only wear baggy clothes.

4. Draw long swirly mustaches on all the smiling faces in your pile of holiday cards.

5. Switch from regular to decaf, and decaf to 20% proof.

6. Have chocolate at every meal.

7. Do all of your holiday shopping a the grocery store (any gift card will do).

8. Forgo the gift wrap and holiday cards, cuz you’re being “green.”

9. If entertaining over the holidays, only do “pot luck.” Better yet, do every meal, “pot luck.” Kids, you’re on your own.

10. Try to avoid leaving the house from Nov.26 – Jan.2. Think of the gas you’ll save!

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11. Insist everyone wear red or green, or blue and silver, or whatever color combination accurately depicts what holiday they celebrate, to keep social gatherings lively.

12. Save the time and money (woohoo!) from coloring your hair and just tell everyone that the silver is tinsel.

13. Re-gifting is perfectly acceptable. Just remember not to regift the item aback to the same person. Too awkward.

14. Laugh a lot, it will soon be over. Drink a lot, it will go even faster.

15. When all else fails, spike your coffee with eggnog morning and night.

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, just remember it’s the most stressful, um, wonderful time of year. Happy Holidays!

Related post: 5 Promises I’m Making For The Holiday Season