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Holiday Simplification Needed

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. We make time for family and friends. We feel thankful for what we have. We give and receive gifts in many forms. We eat our favorite foods and make them for special people in our lives.

I’m a busy mom of four children. In addition I’m married, work and have a rascally, needy dog, named Buster Brown who barks incessantly if he is ignored. So as much as I love the holidays, I get very worn out by them. If I’m going to go to Christmas concerts wearing a huge smile and remain cheerful in crowded stores with long lines and little angry elf shoppers, I need a little simplification. And let’s be honest, the minivans morph into weapons in the packed parking lots. I’m done being politically correct about the holidays. Certain elements of the holidays need to be overhauled.

Here are a few things to consider:

Santa needs a serious make-over. Santa in his existing condition is outdated. No one wants to sit on his lap. He makes more children cry than smile. He is the (North) polar opposite of who we encourage our kids to sit on and tell their secrets to. We need to officially put Santa on a cleanse diet. And get him a new outfit every year so he doesn’t smell like dirty socks. After the Santa cleanse, we’ll create a Lululemon Christmas costume especially for mall Santas.

No one writes Christmas lists anymore. Let’s be tech savvy moms. Go on line and have your kids show you what they like and secretly email yourself the links. Then, when they are all asleep make a bowl of brownie batter, watch all the nightmare youtube videos of shoppers fighting each other for an adult blanket sleeper no one really wants, and go order the good, well thought out gifts from the comfort of your desk.

Many children have never been to the post office so letters to North Pole are a little outdated. Instead we need to create and post a YouTube video of the list. Or email it. There are now hundreds of elf and Santa sites. It would be so adorable. You can also make last minute Christmas cards on line with them.

The decorations are overdone now. Who has the space to store all this stuff? Create an in-home natural disaster to get rid of the decorations you don’t even like. No, your kids will not want them when they are older. Have one tradition and that’s it. I like Steinbach nutcrackers. I’m ditching the Christmas village collection and the carolers.

Nowadays, most of the Sara Lee’s are Asian and Asian is all the rage! Who doesn’t love sushi? Who doesn’t crave dim sum? We should substitute in some better desserts for the frozen pies. We need some frozen red bean soup and hangwa (little sweet Korean confections). They are healthier and really taste good. And as someone who loves crème brulee, lets add that in too (just because I like it and maybe it will catch on as a tradition).

I’m too disorganized to have more than a few traditions. So I’m taking a few shortcuts. Baking cookies is too complicated and I don’t have time. The only time I liked Martha Stewart was when she was in jail. The modern trend is to buy candles to create the perfect smells. There is a sugar cookie scented candle. There is also an evergreen tree scented one. So don’t feel the pressure to have a real tree. Maybe over time we’ll stop cutting so many down.

We’ve gone too far with the gingerbread houses. People like the activity but it gets wasted. Now everyone has parties to make them, but problem is they have nowhere to go. They get stale because no one ever eats them. My son wants to make French fry houses with red and green food coloring. Or make a gingerbread men army and put them in a race against his friends’ gingerbread army.

Revolving the holiday visit around the most difficult relative, just because it’s always been done that way, has to stop. Let’s tell the Grinch to get on board or sulk in the corner away from the rest of us merry people. And secretly put a wrapped gift for this person under the tree, containing a t-shirt with the words, ‘neutralized holiday highjacker’.

Don’t get me wrong. The holidays are filled with magic and almost perfect, according to my kids. Here are a few of my favorite things, and these items are not subject to any Christmas budget cuts.

Singing Christmas songs and listening to Christmas music, especially around a crackling fire. Hot chocolate and pumpkin spiced lattes. Shiny wrapping paper on treasured presents. Christmas lights in the dark of night. The person who wears the Christmas sweater with little bell ornaments sewn on to the tree.

And always, giving thanks and making memories with my family and friends. If we kick outdated holiday noise to the curb, we also free up space to make a connection with someone who needs to know they are not invisible during the holidays. This concept, called spreading the holiday cheer, is a timeless concept we should all embrace. Call them or give them a hug. It’s priceless. Have a Happy Holiday Season!

This article originally appeared on Consumer Electronics Net.