The holidays can be stressful. And to be honest, social media makes it worse. All you see are photos of happy families with smiling kids in matching outfits acting like little saints. And to complicate matters, there are Christmas movies that show children acting appropriately, listening to their parents, and learning valuable lessons.
Not that some of that stuff doesn’t happen, but the reality is that kids can be turds around the holidays, and parents are often barely hanging on. Once it’s all over, you are left wondering how you will ever survive parenthood.
I get it, friend. I’ve been at this parenting gig for almost 10 years now, and I’ve collected a few tips on how you can survive the holidays that you won’t find in any parenting list.
I won’t bullshit you — here are the real parenting pro tips for the holidays.
1. If you forget to move the elf, tell your kids they did something naughty in that room and the elf stuck around so they could redeem themselves.
2. Don’t fight the kids about eating their Christmas candy. Just let them eat the hell out of that shit. It’ll be fine.
3. To a child, Santa is basically God from the Old Testament: full of blessings and wrath. Use Him to your full advantage.
4. Take Christmas pictures early enough that you can still threaten the kids that Santa will bring coal. Kids don’t give a shit about pictures.
5. 90% of Christmas morning is telling children to go back to bed. Use your best Batman voice.
6. The real test of a parent’s patience is watching a child wrap a Christmas present. Buy extra tape and just let it go.
7. You don’t have to put the elf in clever scenarios. It’s a lot of work, and secretly, all your Facebook friends will think you’re an ass.
8. There’s a 40% chance that one of your children will pee, puke, or poop at the school Christmas program. Plan accordingly.
9. You will spend $100-plus on a Christmas present, only for the baby to play with the box. Save money and just buy a box.
10. Your child will only eat the center of a roll at Christmas dinner, and then ask for dessert. Just give it to them. It’s the only way to maintain the magic of Christmas.
11. Changing a friend’s name in your phone to “Santa” and having them periodically text threats to your children is a parenting win.
12. Kids act like total asshats the day after Christmas. It’s like a Christmas hangover. Don’t take it personally.
13. With a toddler, a Christmas tree becomes a regular tree really fast. Only decorating the top half of the tree will save you a trip to the emergency room. Trust me.
14. The worst thing about the holidays is the “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” parody. Don’t be in a rush to teach it to your children.
15. Take all your dreams of a perfect holiday moment and add fighting, crying, and poop. That will help you establish true holiday expectations.
16. In early December, go to the Portable North Pole and make a personalized video in which Santa tells your children they have been naughty. That way, they can spend the rest of the month redeeming themselves.
17. Ultimately, Pinterest turns all parents into holiday failures. Do yourself a favor and watch clips from Married With Children on YouTube instead. It will keep you grounded.
18. Christmas outfits always lose to holiday chocolate. Keep the kids in their pj’s as long as possible.
19. Cutting down your own tree as a family sounds amazing — in theory.
20. Before you buy a toy that makes noise, really reflect on how big of a dumbass you’re being.
21. Having different wrapping paper for gifts from Santa is predicated on the idea that children give a shit about wrapping paper.
22. When eating your children’s Christmas candy, take time to hide the evidence. Kids take that shit personally.
23. “Calories don’t count during the holidays. Calories don’t count during the holidays. Calories don’t count during the holidays …” This is your parenting mantra.
24. There will be a moment when your children will give you a hug and tell you, “Thanks.” It will be sincere and wonderful, and you will not catch it on film. But that’s OK. Store it in your holiday memory bank, and withdraw it later — when everyone is fighting over who got the best gifts this year.
25. Caffeine 😉
Sure, there are more holiday pro tips. There always are. But these should get you started. And if you are reading this and have something to add, please do so in the comments section. Because you know what they say: It takes a village.