When Normal Mom Becomes Holiday Mom


The switch starts with the Christmas Cards. I’m almost sure of it.

It’s like a little voice gets in moms’ head that says, “the key to a perfect holiday seasons start with the holiday photo… make the kids look good and nail this photo. then it’s smooth sailing from here on out.

So every year my mom would drop the announcement on us like a bomb when we were least expecting it and in no position to flee. “Okay, we’re taking Christmas card photos tonight. Right now. In front of the tree. Now.” It always seemed so random, we thought. But looking back it wasn’t random at all, Holiday Mom knew exactly what she was doing.

She’d hustle us into the living room while throwing us clean clothes to put on that matched. We’d whine and cry, especially when she made us doing something gross like put our arms around each other or something.

But she didn’t bat an eye because she was getting her holiday photo, damn it. Holiday Moms are like machines. Their shear determination and drive is actually quite impressive.

She’d wait a week to get her photos back only to see this was her best option. What a disappointment that must have been. But there was no time to dwell, decorations must be hung and lights must be strung.

For the next week or so, my mom would pull out 100 + storage tubs from the basement full of holiday decor. It was like our basement was a clown car, just when we thought there couldn’t possibly be room for another box, she’d come up the stairs with ten balancing on her head.

She never told us how she did this either, it was all part of the magic I think.

My mom would spend the next 3-4 days decorating the house. Wrapping garland on the banister, trees in every room, Santas in every corner, not a space was left untouched. She’d blast Christmas music while she decorated the entire week. I always thought it was to enhance the moment, but now I can’t help but wonder if it was to drown out my dad bitching about the fact holiday crap was everywhere. Literally everywhere.

“I can’t even get to my weights because there’s wreaths all over my workout room! I want this stuff outta the basement now.”

Classic dad. My mom would just nod her head like she was listening to him. But she wasn’t. She was in holiday mode. She wasn’t listening to anyone but that little voice in her head whispering,

This is our year, Sandy. This is the year we make it the best Christmas EVER. ever. ever. ever.

She’d just smile and nod her head and keep stringing garland.

Holiday Mom is fun. But also a little frightening.

She wants us to admire her work, but not touch it. She doesn’t want help decorating, but damn it you better ask if she does. And whatever you do, do not leave something in her way or you will not see it until next December- and even that’s not a guarantee.

After the decorations, it’s the baking, and the last minute shopping, and the wrapping, and making relish trays, and pickles rolled in cream cheese and meat. And more last minute shopping, and 79 trips to the grocery store because damn it my dad forgot the cranberries! How does he always forget the cranberries?!

And it’s all in preparation of the big Christmas Eve party.

The grand finale, if you will. Holiday Mom suddenly goes into 4.0 mode and shit gets real.

She’s up before dawn because her mind is racing with a to-do list 13 pages long. And if she doesn’t keep her focus, it only takes one little stain to send her all over town in search of the perfect creme and gold table cloth. If the bare table shows Christmas will be RUINED.

Beds must be made! Because everyone’s coats will go in your room, on your bed! God forbid they stay downstairs on the couch like we’re a bunch of animals!

Toilets clean. From 2 p.m. on there is absolutely no pooping in the downstairs bathroom. Jordan, we’re talking to you here!

Table leaves must be put into table. NOW, people. Move, move, move. If you pinch your fingers, suck it up. You’ve got 9 more.

Wipe down the fridge! We must have zero traces of food in here.

Christmas China must be set. This is literally the China’s one day to shine.

Garbage bins empty! No garbage in this house tonight. What do you want people to think we’re a garbage family?

No shoes by the door! NO MORE SHOES. EVER.

Turn on all 73 Christmas trees in the house. Tonight is the night, do not fail me now lights.

Rugs straightened! Carpet vacuumed. Candles burning. James Taylor holiday music playing. Window candles all turned on!  

And if you eat any of the appetizers before guests arrive, so help you God. And no using the fancy napkins. Or hand towels in the bathroom. 

And somehow in between seeing the first car pull up and hearing the doorbell ring, my mom would manage to shower, blow dry, and get completely ready in less than 30 seconds.

Holiday Mom is magic. She really is.

Because when it’s all said and done, another great Christmas is in the books thanks to Holiday Mom. And her greatest gift of all, is that she passes the tradition on to her children, whether you want it or not.

Merry Christmas, Holiday Moms. Take a breather and relax for a moment.




  1. December 8, 2015 / 9:47 am

    Hahahah this is hilarious and my Mom to a T when I was growing up. I'm not sure why we ate pickles with cream cheese wrapped in meat but the thought if now makes me want to gag!

  2. December 8, 2015 / 10:13 am

    First of all – pickles wrapped in cream cheese and meat are 1) amazing 2) even better as a dip. Second of all, this was my mother, too, and now that I'm a mom – I fear this is my future. Maybe I can stop it with some self awareness?

  3. December 8, 2015 / 10:27 am

    Haha, this is basically my mom in a nutshell!

  4. December 8, 2015 / 10:37 am

    This is hilarious!!!! We didn't have a clown car basement for decorations but we had a hall closet like that… and EVERY year without fail all the decorations would come out of the closet and my Mom would struggle and argue when it was time to put them back in… "how in the HELL did all this fit in here? I know it did because I took it out… why is it not going back in????" ha.

  5. December 8, 2015 / 10:48 am

    Hahahaha, this is totally my Mother!

  6. December 8, 2015 / 11:27 am

    Our holiday moms are very similar. I think they would be friends…as long as neither uses the fancy bathroom hand towels.

  7. December 8, 2015 / 11:29 am

    I lol'ed at the garbage can thing – because of my mother, I've grown up thinking you are to never see trash in…a trashcan. If there's so much a lone Q-tip in that thing before 'company' comes over, she's emptying it. She also lights approximately 23487323 candles… it looks like we're trying to bring people back from the dead in my house.


  8. December 8, 2015 / 11:57 am

    Oh shit….this was my mom…and I just realized it's me! Although, I'm no mom yet, but my annual Christmas party is ALWAYS one to remember. I do panic less about the details…but the Christmas towels in the bathroom….don't even LOOK at them. I mean, DO look at them and tell me they are pretty, but that's it!

  9. December 8, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    OMG. This is totally my mom this past weekend. Forget other stuff we had planned to do, we were decorating, dammit, and we would LIKE it. I like decorating as much as the next person, but sheesh!

  10. December 8, 2015 / 1:01 pm

    hahaha YES. my mom has a christmas party with 200+ people every year and she goes… insane. it's all for the family…

  11. December 8, 2015 / 1:50 pm

    Haha. This is so good. This was my best friends mom to a T.

  12. December 8, 2015 / 3:34 pm

    This is perfect. It is so my mom. How is this a universal thing?? (The cleaning of the house is what really got me.)

  13. December 8, 2015 / 8:32 pm

    This reminded me of "The Christmas Tree" sketch on youtube by John Roberts. So true and so my mom.

    Laura | Laura Aime Vous

  14. December 9, 2015 / 4:36 pm

    Hahaha this is hilarious. I just told my husband I don't know how my mom does it – she has 5 full size trees and 7 smaller trees I think and Christmas decor in every non bedroom and bathroom. She works a full time job and has several extracurricular activities. No clue how she gets it all done. I just put up 1 big tree and 1 tiny tree and decorated my fireplace mantle and bar in the kitchen. It took me almost a week! I wonder when the Mom magic arrives because I don't have it yet.

  15. December 9, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    This reminds me of my mother in law. She has a Boxing Day party and she's all fun and games until that day. She'll be like, "Whose coat is this!?!" fully knowing that it's mine and I shamefully walk over, not daring to make eye contact.. and take what is mine.

  16. December 11, 2015 / 8:42 am

    This is awesome. "Zero traces of food here!" SO TRUE! Moms are great but they do get holiday mom crazy. Oh man, I´m probably going to be the same way.

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