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The Hood Magazine

Embracing a Hot Mess Christmas

Dec 01, 2022 ● By Erica Varcoe, Hot Mess Moms Facebook Group

By: Erica Varcoe, Hot Mess Moms Facebook Group

‘Tis the season to feel … 

Stressed? Guilty? Less than? Holly Jolly? Or more… Hot Mess? 

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year, can put undue pressure on moms (dads, families…) to create holiday magic. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest… it’s a ruthless game of Yuletide one-upping. The best, most elaborate Elf-on-shelf schemes. (I am guilty of this. We now have 3 Elves. And a reindeer. And this year I bought them Elf scooters. It’s magical insanity!) 

The perfectly decorated sugar cookies. (Why do the candy canes always turn out inappropriate looking?) 

The decorating. And twinkling lights. And shopping. And caroling (Wait…do people do that?!) … 

It’s too much. 

I need a long winter’s nap! 

This season of hope and love and peace. 

This season of Silent Nights. 

If we aren’t careful, will suck the Joy right out of the World. 

Can we, as a collective group in the ‘hood, agree to embrace the Hot Mess Christmas? 

Throw away the rules and checklists? The expectations and pressures we put on ourselves? 

I have learned through (many!) years of counseling. And several seasons of discomfort, that many of these “rules” I put on myself are a trap.  

A trap that leaves me stuck and missing out. 

A trap that has me feeling exhausted. Feeling like a failure. Like a bad mom. 

A trap that makes me feel like the Grinch. 

We have this idea that if we see someone posting their perfect family night of gingerbread house making, matching family pajama wearing, then we have to do that too. And maybe even better. Or better staged. 

No matter the yelling and tears. 


What you had hoped would be a #blessed Family Christmas Night has left you feeling like a scrooge. Kids in tears. Houses in ruins. (the real ones and the cookie ones!) 

Is this Christmas? 

The one that Mariah Carey sings about? 



What if we embraced having a Hot Mess Christmas? 

An imperfectly perfectly decorated Christmas Tree. (Decorated by laughing kids!) 

Store bought Christmas goodies. (Maybe even thrown on a Dollar Tree tray 

and passed off as “homemade” gifts.) 

Christmas outfits that were what everyone wanted to wear. Sweatshirts. Flannels. Jeans. Sweats. The Reason for the Season has nothing to do with coordinating outfits.  

So, could we let it go? 

Setting boundaries from things and people that are worse (for you) than eggnog. Saying NO NO NO instead of HO HO HO. Could we do it? Breaking traditions to create new ones - for the sake of peace.  


Could the Elf really just sit on the shelf? Life is hard. And I’m sure the Elf would appreciate a comfortable rest from his shenanigans. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) 

What is your trap? 

What are your rules? 

Are you dreaming of Christmas? 

Or (secretly and guiltily) dreading it? 

Talk to your family. Your children. 

Have them list their favorite parts of Christmas - their favorite traditions. You may be surprised. 

Decide as a family what is worth the (precious) time, so the hustle to Holly Jolly doesn’t turn into the season of Bah-Humbug. 

Make a list. 

That is just yours. 

And sit in the joy that it brings. 

Unlock the trap. 

Bask in freedom. (Freedom from expectations, the hustle, the image, the making of the magic…) 

And…while you’re at it… 

I’ll invite you to slow down this holiday season. 

(Try to…) Care less about appearance. Social media comparison. And notice the magic in the mundane. 

The simple. 

The authentic. 

And if it feels like a dumpster fire … gather around it and grab your chestnuts! 

Real life. 

Let’s change the narrative. 

We don’t live in a Hallmark Movie. We live in Hot Mess Reality.