In Praise of the End of Holiday Break

In the holiday song It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas there’s a line that trills: And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again.

As a kid, I wondered indignantly why this would be. How could life possibly be better or easier when everyone is at school or on a normal routine? Did my parents need a break from…moi? Why, the last two weeks of each year are nothing but holly and jolliness, who would ever want it to go back to the hum-drum of our regularly scheduled lives?

To me, that one line smacked of parental snark. And I. Was. Offended!

With the advantage of time, two kids, and some more perspective than I had when I was eleven…maybe this song is worth a closer look. 

Rewind with me just a couple weeks to right before Christmas. For my family, there was a lot happening: recitals, parties, family dinners, the holiday itself, friends visiting from out of town. Life was basically a non-stop party. A party that had everyone dressed in velvet, sparkles, or another dry cleaning-required fabric, awash in champagne many nights in a row, up to our eyeballs in scheduling commitments and end of year work deadlines, frantically tracking gift shipments, praying everything arrives to be under the tree on time, trying to remember to move that elf, remembering to bring thoughtful hostess gifts, and a million additional details that make the season so merry and so bright. Sound familiar? Feel tired just reading that? I see you momma…I feel it too.

If you’re anything like me, the holidays (commitments, craziness and all) are something you genuinely look forward to and want to participate in fully – for your kids, your family and yourself. But when it’s all said and done, I’m left craving huge quantities of water, a long winter’s nap, and my sweet, sweet routine.

This is not to say that this year’s holiday break hasn’t been awesome. (Well, minus that awful cold my daughter and I both managed to get just in time for Christmas. #tistheseason, am I right?) We had time to relax, sleep in, watch movies, take our time, make no plans…get well. We had time for fun. We spent a day at the zoo, rode bikes, had a mommy-daughter-date, played checkers, built our own board game, watched AND read Harry Potter, and made cheesecake. It was a blast.

Some real wholesome family fun went down over this break! And, on top of all of that, I got through the goal-setting process at work and capitalized on the quiet days where absolutely no one was at the office. Fun and productive – in a lot of ways, this holiday break was me living my best working mom life!

And after a while, we also had plenty of sibling drama based largely around the game Hungry Hungry Hippo and the proprietary board game we created. (Surprise! No one could agree on the rules! How did I not see that coming?) We could not compromise or share if our lives depended on it. We had days where listening to directions was a Herculean task. Did I mention we had fun? We really did; some of this stuff is just parenting table stakes, but in bulk quantities.

And yet, for as much as this holiday break gave us, in the hours leading up to this glorious morning when the sun dawned on a crisp and sunny school day…the time could not have gone fast enough! Truly: mom and dad could hardly wait for school to start again.

Holiday break was awesome. Holiday break was productive…and also, sometimes annoying. Mostly, holiday break was anything but routine. Today, that precious thing has been restored unto us all!

If I’m being really honest, I think there’s a chance that my kiddos might even agree that getting back to our routine is something they were excited about today. No one said anything to me, but we were on time this morning, which felt like one last holiday miracle rounding out the season.

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