7 Times Christmas Is Actually The Worst

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Well, kind of.

There are few things more magical than experiencing Christmas through the eyes of a child. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I walked the frozen food section ugly crying because Amy Grant’s “Grown Up Christmas List” came on the store speakers. I already loved Christmas, and I was about to get to share it with my own child! What a blessing and a privilege.

And, as it turns out, a pain in the ass. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Christmas, doubly so now that I have children, but it’s not the Hallmark TV movie I imagined it would be. To get to Santa’s Workshop, you definitely have to wade through some reindeer poop.

Commiserate with me for a moment on the things that make parents want to spike their eggnog.

Finding the Perfect Toy

It could be the latest craze that is sold out in every store, which you can only get your hands on if you are willing to spend $700 or step on someone’s face. Or, it could be that your child has their heart set on the most obscure thing imaginable, like a stuffed koala bear that sings the original George of the Jungle theme song. Either way, you know your kid will manage without it, but the desire to see their little face light up when they open that one perfect gift is enough to drive parents to extremes.

The Damn Elf

Who has time for this? Who changed the rules from “The elf changes locations” to “The Elf performs tricks worthy of a reality TV show”? Why do we need this kind of pressure? And why do we have to look at everybody else’s Elf? Remember when all we had to think about was Santa? When my kids are grown, I’m going to convince my grandkids that “Cash in the Trash” is a magical tradition, just for payback.

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is the worst thing ever. Guessing how much to use while wishing you paid more attention in math class, getting almost all the way through a cut and having it rip, removing the cat 12 times per present—all of it sucks. I usually start out excited to wrap presents, and make each gift a lovely package of delight; but by the end, gifts are wrapped with remnants of three different patterns of paper, quilt-style, and glued shut because I ran out of tape. One year when I was a kid, my stocking presents were wrapped in tin foil. It was weird at the time, but now I get it.

Baking with Children

This might be a controversial statement. I’m sure some of you out there love doing this activity with your children. I do not. I don’t even like baking on my own when I’m not worried that two cups of flour are about to hit the floor. Those of you who love doing this, please share your cookies with me. Actually, don’t—I know where your kids’ hands have been.

Last Minute Gift Changes

From January 1st onwards, your child has been begging for a specific toy. It’s all they can talk about. They ask you for it, they write to Santa, sometimes they even stick visual aids around the house just to be very clear. They desperately want this toy—until December 23rd, when they sit on Santa’s knee and tell him they want something else entirely. This doesn’t fly in my house. Having been burned by this before, my children now know that you have to write your list to Santa by December 1st, and then you cannot change it. And remember, Santa has a budget.


I’m going to tell you right now, you don’t have enough of them. Or you bought the wrong ones. Or you thought the toy came with batteries and it doesn’t. Or you do have enough, but you are going to wish you had not bought them because it turns out that toy is more annoying than Gilbert Gottfried with a recorder.

Mall Santa Line-Ups

“Let’s get pre-schoolers excited to see Santa, then ask them to stand politely in line for two hours,” said some asshole. “Sounds good,” said some other asshole, “But can we also scare the hell out of the toddlers once they finally get to the front?”

Now, before I am accused of being a Scrooge, the list for why Christmas with children is amazing is far longer than this list. But every once in a while, you just need to Grinch it up a little.

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