12 Things You've Gotta Do Because It's The Freaking Holidays

by Karen Johnson
Originally Published: 
New Line Cinema

Okay moms, so you did the pumpkin patch visit, carved those suckers up, and destroyed your kitchen with guts and seeds. You cooked chili in the crockpot, picked some apples, and watched obligatory football. Good job “fall-ing.” Thumbs up.

Hope you didn’t think it was time to rest and chill out though, because it’s winter now, bitches! Time to break out the snow boots and glitter crafts! ‘Tis the season to be merry! (And exhausted.)

Even if you live in a frozen tundra and haven’t felt your toes in weeks, and even if you’re still finding pine needles from last Christmas, no one cares. Quit complaining and get going on this list, or Santa’s going to bring you a lump of coal instead of hot coffee on the morning of December 25th. And by the time you check all these items off, you’re going to need that caffeine.

So here goes. These are the mandatory things you must do in the icy, snowy, holy-fucking-crap-my-eyelashes-are-frozen-to-my-face winter months.


1. Spend 30 minutes bundling up your children in their snow pants, snow boots, coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. Unbundle the little one immediately, as they NOW have to go potty. Re-bundle. If you are now dripping with sweat and at least one child is crying because their gloves or hat or boots or underpants feel “scratchy”, you’ve done well. Enjoy 11 minutes of peace until they come back in, tracking brown snow-slush through your house, claiming to be “all done” playing outside, and hand you 92 soaking wet pieces of snow gear.

2. Also, buy new gloves and hats every three days all winter long as they continuously get sucked into the vortex of lost and found (only, spoiler alert: they’re never “found,” and by March you have 9 left gloves and 13 right gloves, and none of them match.)

3. Watch a holiday-themed movie and be super fun about it. For example, if you choose Polar Express, did you know you have to also feed your children hot cocoa that they’ll spill on your rug and/or make little “train tickets” so your kids can hop “aboard” the Polar Express (i.e. your couch) in their PJs? Truth. Just ask Pinterest. (A third option is to provide treats with “nougat centers,” but no one really knows what that is, so that may or may not count.)

4. Spend $9 billion on holiday cards and postage—with those fab family pics you took in the fall, obviously! They came out so cute with you all in your matching flannels. No one can tell the kids were melting down and bribed with candy to JUST FUCKING SMILE FOR THE LOVE. Print those suckers out with the words JOY and MERRY across the top because that’s exactly how you felt that day. Curse at the price of stamps under your breath to the grumpy postal worker as you buy several books of them. And send them to everyone you know and try not to think about that fact that likely they’ll go directly into everyone’s recycling bins. (This is not a waste of money, Chad.)

4. Go to at least one neighborhood and/or work holiday event that you’d rather stick needles into your eyeballs than attend. Get dressed up anyway (“Ugly sweater party!” Hahaha. Mary Ellen, the company party planner, is sooooo clever), make small talk with Bill from payroll, eat too much cheese, and watch the clock until it’s been long enough and you can go home, put on sweats, and watch Hallmark movies.

5. Make holiday crafts. I know, I know. Didn’t we already do this in the fall when we hung ghosts and bats and painted silly faces on pumpkins and got paint on Mommy’s new chair covers? Yep. Sure did. It’s winter now though, so break out the red and green yarn, and yes, the glitter. Because nothing makes an exhausted mother merry AF than cutting out two dozen paper snowflakes and finding tiny cut-out triangles all over the floor, amiright? (Optional non-glitter option: Make hand or foot print gifts for Grandma in some sort of dough or permanent hardening clay. Babies love this and it always goes exactly as planned.)

6. Stand in line for an absurd amount of time to put your child on the lap of a strange man wearing a polyester beard. Note: your child will have to poop before it’s your turn or cry when they see Santa (or both if you’re suuuuuuper lucky).

7. And speaking of Santa, you should also have your child write him a letter because OMG HOW CUTE except they insist on not letting you see it, and then seal it and drop in the mailbox. When you gently prod them for info on what they wrote, they’ll say cryptically that “only Santa knows” and not really tell you what they want until December 23rd.

8. Do fun memory-making things like buying matching pajamas for the whole family, only to have your tween roll their eyes say, “that’s dumb” and also promptly forget to take any pics of everybody in them.

9. Attend festive holiday events in the frigid-ass cold. Listen, we know it’s miserable out there, so you really only need to attend one, document it on IG, and call it good. Tree lighting ceremonies are cute, but your kids will likely say, “That’s it?” so you may want to consider visiting a holiday train that provides candy canes to buy their cooperation instead.

10. Make homemade cookies. With frosting. And sprinkles. And you have to let the kids “help.” No one cares how tired you after staying up late last night to capitalize on Amazon deals and wrap tiny LOL dolls and plan the 1st grade holiday party because you were stupid enough to volunteer as room parent. The truth is, if you don’t have flour all over your counters at some point by December 25th (AND you let your kids lick the spoon), you’re a giant Grinch and everyone knows it.

11. Do an advent calendar with your kids so they can remember the “real meaning of the season” as they shove each other out of the way and fight over who gets to open the tiny door every morning.

12. Get the stomach flu. (Or some other wretched germ-laden plague.) Could be Christmas Eve, could be New Years Day. But no family who has really done the holidays right gets to the end of February completely healthy. It’s science.

Okay, that’s pretty much the list! Get cracking, folks. Those reindeer family PJs aren’t going to order themselves! Let’s get our merry on.

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