Sometimes Holidays & Toddlers Don’t Mix

It’s that magical time of year again! The windowpanes are frosted, there’s a fire blazing in the hearth, a cozy cup of hot cocoa is nestled in your hands as you and your loved ones kick back and relax, enjoying the cozy ambiance of the season. Ahhhh, the holidays!


……And then your toddler pulls down your beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Ahhhh, the holidays!


Did I enjoy my first Christmas with a toddler? I’ll be honest: not really. I spent the bulk of Christmas Day hiding in my Aunt’s coat closet, crying.

My son had just turned one. Having just celebrated his birthday, he was really into present opening. He wanted to open EVERY present under the tree, thinking they were all for him. He didn’t understand the meaning of a gift exchange, nor babies-644264_960_720did he grasp the concept of relaxing and visiting with family. My little guy was a new walker, eager to explore his environment. He didn’t want to sit and look cute in his corduroys and sweater vest. He wanted to run around and check everything out. He wanted to open cupboards and drawers, climb the stairs, and pull ornaments off of the tree. During the pre-dinner/hors d’oeuvres hour at our annual family gathering, my son wanted to shove the entire dish of mixed nuts into his mouth.

Those mixed nuts! Six years later I still remember them as a Terrible Toddler Trifecta:

1. they were a veritable choking hazard;

2. the nuts were placed right at my son’s level on a low-lying glass cocktail table; and

3. they were displayed in a very fragile porcelain, candy-cane dish.

The nuts were just the tip of the iceberg: everywhere my little guy turned, someone was telling him ‘No!’:

No! Don’t eat that.

No! Don’t open that.

No! Don’t touch that.stink

No! Don’t climb the stairs.

No! Don’t go near the hot fireplace.

And on, and on and on.

My little man was so frustrated! He was miserable actually, which made me miserable…..hence my trip to the coat closet for a good, cathartic cry.

Five years and two more children later, I finally learned the very valuable lesson that I now share with you:

Sometimes the Holidays and little kids just don’t mix. Sometimes, as parents, we need to lower our expectations during this very joyful yet very busy season to better accommodate our children, and ultimately ourselves.

Maybe you can’t put up your beautiful Christmas tree with antique ornaments

Perhaps your Christmas card picture won’t be perfect because your toddler screams at the sight of Santa

Maybe the family gathering that starts smack dab in the middle of nap time doesn’t fit into your schedule, and it’s OK to be late, or to make alternate plans

It might be paper plates instead of the good china this year

It might not be the year for fires in the fireplace, or maybe it’s time to invest in a protective gate or screen

Deck the Halls all you’d like, just remember that anything within arms reach of your little man or lady can and will be used as a toy

Missed naps lead to very bad consequences….for you

Don’t get me wrong, the holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy with our children. The magic of the season is truly all around: beautiful, twinkling lights, gorgeously decorated Christmas trees, sleigh rides, snow angels, family celebrations, and the overall giving and receiving of love and joy. It’s a lovely time to share with family and friends. It can also be a very stressful time when you’re the parent of a toddler.

christmas toastJust remember that the holiday season is also yours to enjoy. YOU – yes, you MOM! – need to take the time to relax and enjoy the season as well. If that means making some adjustments to better accommodate your toddler, so be it!

Holidays and Toddlers can mix. We may simply need to tailor our holiday traditions and expectations to better suit our little one’s needs. A few modifications to your holiday modus operandi will only serve to enhance your child’s (and subsequently your own) enjoyment of the most wonderful – and busiest! – time of the year.











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2 Responses to Sometimes Holidays & Toddlers Don’t Mix

  1. Kathy January 11, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

    So true! Love the fun of opening gifts, cute outfits, and ohs and ahs from family…But exhausting chasing my toddlers around and making sure they get the sleep they need so the ohs and ahs continue (instead of ughs and oh nos! lol).

    • Courtney Eastman
      Courtney Eastman January 11, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

      It’s definitely a magical & exhausting time of year! It was bittersweet to see the season come to an end, but nice to get back into the routine of day-to-day life! 🙂

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