Parents Who Fear Losing the Holiday Magic as Children Grow Older: Take Heart

As I continued along the wrapping process this week, I had time galore to reflect upon the holiday season, and here’s what I’ve come to realize:  I am in the Golden Age of Holiday Parenting.  Sure, watching the kids’ excitement over the upcoming arrival of Santa is wonderful, and seeing their eyes pop out of their head as they barrel down the steps Christmas morning is something to behold.

I think back on those times, and I smile at the memory.

But this year, my kids are 14 and 12, and any illusion of Santa and reindeer landing on the roof is gone.  And I’m thinking that would make a lot of parents very wistful.

Me?  I’m over the moon!  This is exactly where I want to be with children and Christmas, and I will give you all the wonderful reasons I am enjoying this holiday season:

1.  Extra hands to help decorate

Not only have I cut my lugging of decorations up and down the stairs in half, but I also have consultations on what decoration would look best in which location.  I love their input!


Very high shelves designed by my daughter


The Snow Baby display (or, as my sister calls it, The Dust Collector’s Display, painstakingly unwrapped and arranged by my son

2.  Taking on new challenges

As much as I love my husband, he is a bit Scrooge-y (if that’s not a word, it should be) when it comes to certain aspects of the holiday season, in particular, outdoor lights.  So this year, I thought, “I’ve got two able-bodies kids that I can enlist,” and guess what?  We couldn’t be prouder of ourselves.  Of course, my mechanical-minded father-in-law did ask me if I would be offended if he went around and taped up all the exposed electrical thingies, but still and all, I think we did a fabulous job!


I’m not sure this picture appropriately displays the majesty that is our electrical masterpiece!

3.  Appreciation of my holiday baking

They are at an age where they can truly appreciate when I am taking out the stand mixer versus throwing some Chips Ahoy on a plate.  Validation is good for this baker’s soul!


It’s early days for baking, but this was attempt #1: something called a million dollar shortbread bar, chocolate on top, shortbread on the bottom, and some heavenly concoction in between. Very messy, though.

4.  Understanding the depreciation of the pile under the tree

The last couple of years have been tough, they want certain things, but were still to young to appreciate that pricier things = less gifts.  This year, they totally get it, because…

5.  They can communicate exactly what they want

This makes up for the missing wondrous amazement… being able to provide the exact sneaker that my son wanted, or the particular brand of clothes that my daughter has been coveting.

6.  Coming out of the dark

Not having to squirrel away in my dirty, dank messy basement for hours on end wrapping so that the kids don’t see gifts is a thing of the past.  I now get to wrap in front of a fireplace, or at my kitchen counter, or anywhere I want!


One corner of the dining room

7.  No stress with ruining the surprise

I remember one year almost having a heart attack because my son was spooking around the basement.  I do not miss all the covert operations, that’s for sure (and clearly, I was never as good as Sherry was!)

8.  Going to bed each night of this season peacefully, rather than waking up at 3 am in terror…. DID I MOVE THE ELF???


Back in the box, Elf


9.  They are still young enough to appreciate the classics

Even though they don’t believe in certain elements the same as they did at a younger age, they still get into the spirit of most of the things I do love… the childhood movies (The Year Without a Santa Claus is our all-time favorite), putting up the Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set (and, believe it or not, they will still play with it for a few days after it comes out!), putting up an ornament on each day of the Advent calendar.  It’s like the best of both worlds!


Our Nativity set


10.  Not having to stay up until 4 am assembling crap

11.  Not having to wake up at the crack of dawn after staying up until 4 am assembling crap

12.  Still putting out the cookies and carrots, just because it is tradition

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season and the “best of” whatever ages your children, or pets, or nieces/nephews, or friends are this year!


Today’s Miracle:

That I’ve even started the wrapping process, or, for that matter, had present to wrap, this early in December, is a miracle!  Where did the Queen of Procrastination go?

Posted on December 11, 2014, in Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. You absolutely DO live in my head!!! I feel the same exact way!

    And guess what? The ones that are left at home are 21, 19 & 19 and they are STILL in the phase you describe. In fact, they are more adamant about our traditions that I! I don’t dare forget anything or they are there to remind me.

    Yes, I DO miss when they were wee little Santa believing munchkins, but I’ve enjoyed every single Christmas morning since just as much.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! We have one of these kids and she helped just last weekend with picking out a tree and hauling boxes up to decorate it. She also gave a very detailed list, and started to give me an equally detailed list for stocking stuffers and I was like hey hey, I can handle some of this. She also gets to help me instill a little santa magic in the mind of her younger sister, which is fun to see. We ditched the elf a couple years ago, more for laziness than any real objection I had to the paranoia an elf that watches over and reports back to santa might create in an anxious child. Really though, I know none of the threats work. Kids get might excited this time of year. Even the big ones 🙂 Your house looks absolutely beautiful. You guys did a terrific job decorating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s one of the many awesome things about having kids far apart in age. I grew up in a family like that, but only have the two close together now.

      I will just say it… that elf was the bain of my existence. Maybe that makes me Scrooge-y, but I’ll take the title, in the interest of telling the truth.

      Thanks for the mad props, I’m enjoying the decorations even more now that the kids had an active hand in it!


  3. I hope when the time comes for my kids to get to your kids’ ages I will be able to focus and appreciate the positive instead of pining for the way things were in the past. Can you promise to remind me? Glad you having such a great Holiday Season (queue the “Happy Holidays” music)!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I discovered your blog yesterday, and I want to thank you! There are so many things I can relate to. I am working a twelve step program and am in the midst of step 3, with 40 days of sobriety under my belt. Your posts really help, and I agree 100% on the Christmas thing. My kids are 18 and 21, and I’m excited to have them home from university for the holidays, happy that I don’t have to stay up until 4 am assembling toys, and really glad that I don’t have to get out of bed at the crack of dawn on Christmas day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you found the blog, and so happy to be able to connect with you!

      40 days of sobriety is HUGE, congratulations! So proud of you! And step 3, oooh baby, you are heading into the homework section, that’s for sure! I hope you will read some of my back posts, I talk a lot about the steps as I was going through them. They worked honest to God miracles in my life, I look forward to hearing what they do for you!

      Thanks again for stopping by, and I can’t wait to congratulate you on your next sober milestone 🙂


  5. Thank you. I have been reading earlier posts on 12 step work. Some great insight!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do remember being blue for a few years as the kiddos moved out of the young stage. Not any more! I love their ages and how we share all that is Christmas now. Baking and decorating is so much fun and our Scroogy-daddy is completely outnumbered. Thank you for the valuable reminder. My girl comes home from college in a couple of days and I’m so giddy to have someone to bake cookies with!


  7. Oh my gosh, Josie! #8 is the bane of my existence! My husband and I were wondering when our kiddos are going to start questioning the magic and were feeling a little sad about it having to end at some point so it’s good to know that there’s so much to look forward to. I love the idea of being able to wrap gifts wherever I want! xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

    • There really is, Karen. More good news: you get to feel so much more “on top of things” during the season! I just this morning took a stroll of delight as I saw the wrapped gifts. I’m telling you, in my life I never even thought of wrapping until a few days before (I am a major procrastinator). Now I have time to try the whole roll-out cookie dough thing next week… I’ll let you know how it goes!

      Thanks for the comment, I hope you are enjoying the season!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My kids are of a similar age. What a great perspective for me to have during my first sober Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

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