Happiness is a Store-Bought Cookie

Oh my goodness. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in all this holiday “hustle and bustle.” I love Christmas. I love the spirit of Christmas.  But I tend to stress over the details and that always takes away some of the enjoyment.  We have to get to the store today to get this toy before it’s gone! We have to get the Christmas card photo done NOW or they will never get out in time!  We need to make a list of teacher gifts! And on and on.  I decided yesterday that I’m officially relieving myself of the traditional duty of baking Christmas cookies.  This is HUGE for me.  I don’t like to give up.  But cooking and baking are not my “thing.” The worst part? I just don’t enjoy it.  The thought of filling the kitchen with lovely smells of sugar and spice as carols fill the air sounds really cool and all, but it never turns out that way.  I will get frustrated and grumpy and no one has any fun.  And the cookies never taste that great.  So I’ve decided to have the kids pick out their favorite Whole Foods bakery cookies on Christmas Eve and that will be our new family tradition.  (They are soooo yummy.)

I think because I love Christmas so much I feel a need to make everything perfect.  I want the perfect advent/countdown calendar.  I tape every holiday TV special and I will beat myself up if I miss one.  I will analyze the stocking stuffers to make sure I have the right amount and they all have some special meaning.  I want everyone to have their perfect Santa visit outfit, Christmas Eve outfit, and Christmas Day outfit.  I want the Santa cookie jar filled with lots of homemade goodies.  It’s all motivated by me wanting to give my children perfect Christmas memories.  But I’ve finally realized that if I don’t stop for a second, I’ll miss the memories I’m trying to create.  And what’s perfect even mean?

This was the first year I did not venture out on Black Friday and I was so happy with that decision.  Rather than spinning in circles at the shopping mall, I was relaxing on the couch with my family.  We talked and played games.  We watched a movie.  It was worth so much more than a discount I would have received on something at the Disney Store.

I’m Daniel’s room mom and I’ve been stressing about the costumes for his Christmas play.  I had to cut head and arm holes into tons of pillowcases and I worry that some are off-center or too jaggedy.  But then I thought about it.  The kids are so excited for the play.  The teachers can’t wait for the parents to see it.  And no one will even notice a not-so-perfect costume.  I should feel blessed to spend so much time in my son’s classroom.  Today I got a special “sneak peek” at one of the Christmas presents for the Moms.  I watched Daniel play with his buddies and make a LEGO rocket ship.   He loves when I’m there.  That’s all that matters.

I took Annabel to her dance class yesterday so she could rehearse for the Christmas recital.  I usually sit there with my iPhone and my Kindle getting work done or catching up on a new book.  (Right now I’m reading Rob Lowe’s autobiography and it’s awesome.)  But then something just shook me.  I just stopped and looked up.

My little girl was dancing.  She was twirling in circles and giggling with her friends.  She was following her teacher’s moves by looking in the mirror over my head.  I was mesmerized by her concentration and by that look of innocent joy.  She was in the moment.  I put everything away and just enjoyed her.  I felt my eyes well up and I’m sure the other Moms were wondering why I was so emotional.  I just felt so overwhelmed by the moment.  THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT, I thought.  Don’t forget THIS.

So I’m declaring here and now that I will no longer spend my holiday time stressing about a teacher gift, a party dress, or that toy I didn’t buy yet.  It’s not worth it.  I’d much rather be with my family.  In the moment.  Eating a store-bought cookie.


  1. Wonderfully written and such a good lesson for us all to remember at this time of year!

    (P.S. I didnt’ realize you had this blog! My friend just shared it on Facebook and I reading it and looked at the picture and was all “Hey, that’s Daniel” lol. Hope he is doing well and I miss everyone at Deermeadows!)

    “Miss Shannon” (Daniels former music teacher) 🙂

  2. PopMommy Pam says:

    He’s doing great! Thanks for checking out my website. Hope all is well! Pam

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