There is something nice about having your teenage daughter set the Thanksgiving table, and your teenage son vacuum the entire house, and everyone helping to make the traditional family holidays special. The Christmas decorations went up in an hour this year with everyone unloading and unpacking and me just arranging. Commercials for Black Friday are everywhere as I lay in bed and drink my coffee until about 10:00am watching the news and not worrying about a shopping list. I haven't seen the inside of a classroom on a holiday in years. No treats to take or activity to help with. Welcome to the land of Midlife Holiday Magic. That to do list bubble of holiday activities finally bursts when your kids hit the teen years. As your kids get older its the perfect opportunity to create saner simpler holidays. They know you are "santa". They don't need the latest greatest Elmo where there are only 1,000 made. They don't need the tallest tree or to bake every cookie recipe or to clean out and carve pumpkins. Wipe your brow, get off the hamster wheel and put the super hero cape away. We did it! They have great memories and traditions to pass on. Let go of the chaos and focus on new rules, roles and overall holiday expectations with adult children.
Yes, there is that nostalgic part of you that misses the excitement of those little chubby faces running down the stairs at five in the morning to see if "santa" came. But let me rewind the entire holiday rat race for you starting with Halloween. Franticly searching for the last minute costumes for the costume parade. Buying pumpkins and carving kits that don't even frickin' work. Cleaning out the pumpkin slime and breaking every nail. Sweating over a turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes so you can hear them all whine how they don't like this icky food. You slaved over thanksgiving dinner and all they really want is kraft macaroni and cheese from the blue box. Throw in the damn pilgrim or indian costume for the thanksgiving feast at school. Then let's not forget about the top ten list of gifts that they want and all over the news all you hear is limited edition, or only a handful made. So what do we do... we go form a line to get that must have toy at the crack of dawn or if we can afford it way pay triple the price online. Then on Christmas day we watch them open that toy to the complaint of it being the wrong color or that it was Laa Laa not Dipsy that was their favorite. Hold on let's back up... What the hell were we thinking letting our kids watch Teletubbies. What the hell was that show? How did we fall for a show where the sun cooed, these stuffed martian looking oversized characters all just giggled and the only word I can recall was Eh-Oh! I must have been sleep deprived to let my children watch this or stoned. WTH!!! Yes, much of it will be missed, (kinda-sorta-maybe-not) but at midlife it may be time to let certain traditions go and make room for new ones. Here are some meaningful holiday traditions you can incorporate if you never had a chance to create some or if you need some new ones to experience with older children in the house.
Gifts... this is also a nice transition now that the real "santa" is exposed and accepting credit where credit is due. I also believe it all happens with the Grace of God, so we can't take all the credit. It's nice to get them what they need and surprise them with a thing or two. Need help? Here's a great 2015 gift guide for teenagers. Now, the joy is shopping with them and throwing in a lunch or a dinner for great quality time. The smile and excitement are still there... maybe not from chubby cheeks running down stairs. But from shaven faces with chiseled features or glossed lips with twinkling eyes sporting mascara. The children are older but they still have a way of expressing their joy and your heart still melts at the sight. You see... the Miracle of Midlife Holidays is that the gift comes full circle. The memories outlast and survive all the material stuff. No amount of commercialization can tarnish the holidays at midlife. We ran that race already and even though we fell for a lot of it, the family traditions ran a steady pace along side all the hype. In the end the family and the spirit of the season are all that's left. It's a beautiful thing! We are Blessed.
Keep looking forward so you don't miss what God puts in front of ya!
Matuschka's Midlife... Telling it like it is...
*Above photo courtesy of iStock