Surviving the Holidays with a Spirited Child

Surviving The HolidaysWhen you are the mother of a Spirited Child the holiday season requires a level of preparation that would make an Army General jealous. You begin to think about next year’s events as soon as your child unwraps their last gift. You make mental notes for less chocolate in the stocking and curse yourself for thinking the whoopee cushion was a good idea. You make eye contact with your spouse and acquiesce that the remote control helicopter was not your wisest choice. Surviving the holidays all comes down to the details when you have a child that has the attention span of a gnat and would only stand still if you nailed his foot to the floor.

By Thanksgiving I am in the throes of training for the marathon of the holidays. Success weighs heavily on the many miles and miles that have been accrued in prep work. The holiday season is not a sprint, only the well trained will make it to New Year’s unscathed. Get yourself ready because you will be running interference for the next four weeks of parties, pageants, dinners, and car rides that last forever.

Stock your vehicle,

  1. Headphones either for you or your kid, someone is gonna need them – maybe both of you. Don’t forget the batteries either. Shit will get real when the little one’s have static or worse, they only work on one ear.
  2. A new video, an iPad, anything that can entertain your wee one on the ride without them incessantly telling you they are bored or asking how long till you get there. The party line by the way is always 5 minutes, you are always 5 minutes away even if it is 4 hours. Eventually they stop asking.
  3. A change of clothes for when your Spirited Child jumps in the mud puddles, destroying their pants and shoes three steps from the front door. Or when little LuLu hurls the candy canes you gave her to buy you some time all over the car.
  4. Food because you will not have time to eat at any event because you will be chasing your Spirited Child away from the dessert table all night. Can we all agree to not put the desserts out till dessert time? PLEASE!

The day before the event you will need to find your inner Buddy the Elf, happy and positive is going to need to show up instead of the Grinch.

  1. Start rehearsing the perma-grin for when Grandma comments that your Spirited Child’s hair is too long. Just smile and nod. Do NOT engage.
  2. Set up a code between you and your spouse for the emergency exit that will happen. It should not be, “Alright then it’s time to get the hell out of here!”
  3. Get your kids photos ready to be handed out because you never got around to doing the Christmas card for the 5th year in a row. This will help quiet your mother when she mentions how she has every one of her other grandkids photos but yours.
  4. Charge all electronics so that there is hand held entertainment available for you to pull out of your purse and shove in your child’s hands soon as they start to ask very loudly when Great Aunt Kate’s baby is due.

On the day of the event you don’t want to be Clark Griswold who loses his shit on the front lawn. You want to be Ellen Griswold who flips a switch and saves the day.

  1. Dress your Spirited Child two minutes before you walk out the door giving you the best possible outcome of arriving in presentable clothing. Layers work great too, when the sweater is destroyed with chocolate that was squirreled away in his pocket just peel it off and boom, long sleeve shirt is prepped and ready.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes so when you take your Spirited Child around the block on a ‘fun walk!’ for the 5th time your feet are not sore.
  3. Position yourself with an open hand next to your child at all times. This is fantastic when your Spirited Child exclaims that your uber sensitive sibling’s hair looks like cobwebs, you are set to clamp down on their mouth and direct him/her to the cookie table you said “No!” to 5 minutes before.
  4. Arrive with a big bottle of wine for your hostess because she will need it after your Spirited Child goes into her bathroom, clogs her toilet, and tells no one. It’s probably best to bring two, one for each of you.

Surviving the holidays with a Spirited Child means you will need to take deep breathes, be more prepared than a Boy Scout, bring a sense of humor, and have an escape plan. It doesn’t hurt to counter your child’s spirits with your own either, may I recommend my friend Johnny Walker Red. He really is perfect for the season.


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  1. Johnny Walker does help quite a bit…

  2. Oh the memories! My kids are older now (thank God), but I remember those days. I’m 42 now and cannot imagine having little ones – although, I have a golden retriever who often reminds me of a toddler (make that a small herd of toddlers)! Anyway, wine . . . lots of wine!

  3. Seriously honest and good! I hold my breath each year with the MIL when she asks the youngest to smile showing her teeth. They have been crooked for years, and now that she is finish with all the extractions and have braces, she is informed to smile even bigger!!!! For the LOVE OF GOD WOMAN, she is self conscious and does NOT WANT TO!!!! You would think this woman would get it after so many years and attempts…… URGH family!!! 🙂

    • We gotta stick together during the holidays, because well misery loves company and it’s nice to know you aren’t suffering alone.