Dear Mom With A Holiday Hangover,
The holidays with kids are magical.
^ ^ ^Statements like this are trite because they’re 100% true. Nothing beats the happiness and excitement of your kids on Christmas morning. It’s one of the true joys of parenthood. You store up those memories and savor them forever.
All that magic notwithstanding, the holidays also require a lot of effort.
Celebrating the holidays with kids is a lot of nonstop go-go-go, even if you vow to keep it simple.
Sure, baking cookies with your kids sounds like a fun, relaxing way to celebrate, but that’s probably because you’ve never baked with kids. It’s fun, for sure, but flour-fights and sneezing into the mixer is not exactly low-key.
Holiday celebrations also mean a lot of time with relatives. This can be great and life-giving, but even when it is, it still requires a lot of time and energy (and possibly chasing small children around someone else’s house yelling, “What’s in your mouth?!?!”).
And when that time together isn’t great and life-giving? Well, it can be downright soul-sucking.
The holiday season also means the calendar is jam-packed. Most of the activities are great fun, but it’s still a whole lot to remember. There’s holiday plays and performances, spirit/dress-up days, classroom parties, work happy hours, holiday luncheons, and beyond.
If your kids are old enough to track all this for themselves, it likely still requires you to purchase the necessary outfits or supplies. If they’re not old enough? Well, all the fun-coordination is squarely on your shoulders.
All of these holiday shenanigans ensure that the time flies by quickly. You basically take one long blink and a whole month has gone (that long blink may also be the only sleep you get that month, but I digress…).
Before you know it, it’s early January and you’re in the doldrums of winter. It’s cold, possibly snowy (but where we are, mostly just cold rain), your clothes are tight (side-eye to you, holiday treats), and you’re not really sure what to do with yourself.
I mean sure, you could start organizing the influx of toys that December brought–thank you Santa and well-meaning relatives (unless they took the non-toy gift approach, in which case, BLESS THEM!).
Sure, you could get back on the fitness train and start exercising (like half the world resolves to do every January).
Sure, you could read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand, untouched for weeks (months?).
But no. You have a holiday hangover to nurse and you will do none of those things.
If college taught you anything, it’s how to handle a hangover like a pro.
Holiday Hangover Remedy #1: You eat greasy take-out food.
Holiday food is great. Cooking holiday food? That gets a solid “meh,” at best.
You spend hours shopping, prepping ingredients, and cooking only to have everyone finish eating within twenty minutes. Then, within an hour, your kids are likely whining that they’re hungry again.
So doing additional cooking after the holidays? Nopity nope nope nope. You have put in your time in the kitchen and you are done.
It’s time for some good old-fashioned American take-out. Burgers, fries, and an extra side of grease? Yes please! Maybe even a little Chick-fill-A? Hallelujah! That is exactly what your holiday-hungover body wants, and it shall have it.
There will be time for salads when spring gets closer. For now, your sweats have you covered, both literally and figuratively.
Besides, you probably received some restaurant gift cards over the holidays, so really, you’re being fiscally responsible (something that, after all the holiday splurging, you’ve probably vowed to be).
Another Tried-And-True Holiday Hangover Remedy: Be liberal with the Advil.
In the past month, you’ve likely spent a lot of time sitting on the floor wrapping toys, unwrapping toys, assembling toys, and playing with toys.
If you’re lucky, your knees are reminding you that you are no longer a child. If you’re not so lucky, you’re also getting that same reminder from your feet, hips, hands… everything. Ibuprofen is your friend during a holiday hangover.
Then, there’s the noise. Man do I love my kids, but when all three boys are cooped up inside for too long, I do start to feel like the Grinch (“Oh the noise! The noise noise noise!”
I remember a time when I wondered how noise could give someone a headache. Then I started teaching high school and I got a solid glimpse. Then I became a mom to all boys and well, they can outdo a class of thirty teens with no effort whatsoever. Now I get it.
Of course, every hangover also requires HYDRATION
Recovery from excessive boozing requires hydration, and the same is true for a holiday-induced hangover.
The crappy cold weather brings a lot of dry air and that equals dry skin. In addition to being uncomfortable, dry skin also highlights the wrinkles that time and your children have been adding to your face. Time to start poppin’ (water) bottles.
Plus, if late nights and early morning don’t come easily to you, there’s a chance that you’ve been fueling your holiday motor with excessive caffeine. Shifting to water is probably a necessity at this point.
If these holiday hangover remedies aren’t cutting it for you, you can always take the “hair of the dog that bit you” approach and go back for more!
Our family holds its Christmas party in early-to-mid-January every year. It’s easier on people’s schedules, it’s a perk to an otherwise lame month, and it gives us a legitimate excuse to leave our holiday decorations up for way too long.
Of course, if you’ve ever had a booze-induced hangover, you’ve also likely sworn off drinking ever, ever, ever again.
The same is true with holidays. You may tell yourself, “Next year, we won’t make so many commitments,” or “Next year, we’ll get the shopping and wrapping done earlier,” etc. etc. etc. But just like back in college: IT’S ALL LIES!
The sooner you accept this, the better off you’ll be. In the meantime, rest up and recover. You’ve got about eleven months to build up your holiday tolerance.
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