Be Careful When You Set the Bar

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Holiday Hoopla

This post has to do with holidays, and how we as parents, can be tempted to get a wee bit overzealous on the holiday hoopla and traditions. Consider this post mom-to-mom advice, especially for you younger parents out there, from someone who has learned from experience about setting the bar.

Let me start by saying – it’s not our fault!

The holiday hoopla has been taken to new levels with this next generation and we are only stepping up the plate. Holidays have gone on steroids. Do you agree? (f yes, you have to read this post by Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan. Love.)

All it takes is one look at some super cute idea on Facebook or Pinterest and we find ourselves planning our trip to Michaels in our head. I blame social media completely for the holiday hoopla madness.

Couple that with your child’s first holiday experiences and a desire to make them the BEST EVER, and well, you risk setting the holiday traditions bar too high.

For example, the first lost tooth is a big deal. Huge. We want the Tooth Fairy’s first visit to be a magical one.

But the Tooth Fairy has to remember that teeth can fall out on vacation. Or, at a not-so-convenient time, like when saying good night.

Therefore, I wish my Tooth Fairy would have realized that before setting the bar of a coded note printed out with a magical font, tooth-brushing accessories, special coins and sparkle heart confetti, that perhaps, those items would be hard to keep up because, (newsflash!) kids lose a LOT of teeth. There were teeth popping out left and right over here for a period of time.  Didn’t quite realize that when the first came out.

Or what about our friend Elf on the Shelf come holiday time?

It’s very tempting to get inspired by all the shenanigans one might see on Pinterest or otherwise, but if your Elf sets the bar too high, you risk kids getting disappointed when the Elf just simply moves. But wasn’t that the whole point?!

Now let’s talk about Leprechauns.

I used to just wear green to school. When I got older, green beer was also involved, but Leprechauns NEVER visited my house.

Now days, the Leprechauns are visiting and doing all sorts of amazing things. But you better believe the kiddos are going to remember that next year, and will be anxiously awaiting to see if your little Leprechaun will outdo himself.

The list can go on and on…Easter bunny, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, first day of school hoopla, you name it.

I am ALL for celebrations, believe me. I absolutely love celebrating holidays with my kids. But, even very small kids remember what happened that last holiday, so there is a certain expectation already in play once the bar is set.

And who wants to have disappointed kids on any holiday?

Which is why, you have to be very careful when you set the bar on your holiday traditions. Baby steps, mamas. Isn’t the holiday alone magical to little ones? We really don’t need to be sooooooo amazing, do we?

Have you gotten trapped by setting the bar too high? Dish, mamas! I want to know your thoughts!


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  1. 1
    Tarcy says:

    Love this…. As usual you spoke to my heart. Guilty as charged. My kids are 5 and 8 so I’ve sort of figured it out but really wish I had been thoughtful of setting the bar lower to begin with. I don’t respond to your blog everyday but I do look forward to getting it. It helps me feel like there’s a real community of us mommas here.

  2. 2
    jen says:

    Your comment meant a lot to me – thank you so much!

  3. 3
    Melissa says:

    Ditto Tracy! Love this post.

  4. 4
    Holly says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I fell into the trap with our Elf a few years ago. But the most the Leprechaun has ever done was leave 2 ring pops on the front steps. 😉 And my kids only get a single gold dollar coin for a lost tooth!!

  5. 5
    Lisa says:

    My elf ONLY moves. He does nothing more crafty than that. However, the tooth fairy used to leave a gift for Stevie when Sarah lost a tooth. What in the world??? Luckily the toot fair figured out that this was a terrible idea and left a note explaining that would no longer be happening. And don’t even get me started on the leprechauns……..

  6. 6
    Lisa says:

    toot fair??? I can’t even blame auto correct on that one.

  7. 7
    jen says:

    The Toot Fair might be one of my favorite non-autocorrects!

    The note is awesome to explain. Love it.

  8. 8
    christy says:

    LOVE this blog, Jen – I can totally relate – from both sides – thanks for writing about this! Being a mama is already challenging enough – let alone trying to keep up with making every day, every holiday, every lost tooth…the BEST EVER.

  9. 9

    […] the flip side, I can totally see how the elf can spiral out of control.  It’s kind of like any tradition, right?! Every family does things differently, albeit the […]

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