‘Tis the season for giving…or yelling?

310 days without yelling, 55 days of loving more to go!

Dear Perfection,

I am pretty sure this post won’t meet your expectations. But as a holiday gift to myself, so I can be less stressed, I am letting it go.

Happy Holidays,
The Orange Rhino


‘Tis the season for giving, or so the saying goes. Sadly, it more often turns out to be ‘tis the season for yelling. Because let’s face it, this season exaggerates every major yelling trigger possible.

More to-dos in even less time? More stress, more yelling.
More parties and late nights? Less sleep, more yelling.
More alcohol and junk food?  Less feeling good about our bodies, more yelling.
More anticipation for gifts, more impatience waiting for the holidays, more hyper kids? More overwhelmed parents, more yelling.
More spending of money? More fights over finances, more yelling.

The list could go on and on. But I think the point is clear. This joyous season is supposed to bring out the best in people but for me? Well I quickly realized on Thanksgiving that first and foremost it brings out my desire to yell. The stress of the season teases me to give gifts of anger, impatience, and annoyance to my boys…it pushes me to give anything but love.

I think it was the setting of the Thanksgiving table that kicked the Holiday stress into high gear.  Realizing that I needed to iron the tablecloth, decorate the table, wipe down the crystal glasses, find the candles, do this and do that just triggered the other to-do lists for the holiday season. Get a good family picture. Order holiday cards. Shop for the kids, the hubby. Decorate the house inside. Put lights up outside. Find the Elf. Wrap the presents. Buy gifts for the teachers and therapists. Find a good cheerful mood. Yes, the simple task of setting a table sent me over the edge and had me sweating and cursing under my breath within minutes. I quickly became agitated and lost site of the awesomeness going on; the awesomeness of my boys gleefully watching the Macy’s Day Parade just like I did as a child. I just wanted to plop on the couch with them and ooh and awe over the floats but instead I grumpily insisted I had “so much to do.”

As I wrapped up setting the table, the boys ran to me shrieking with joy that Santa was on TV; that Christmas was coming! A wee lad plowed right into my back, almost knocking the crystal glasses in my hand to the ground. I spun around, fire in my throat and then stopped. You see, my darling boys were all wearing matching orange polos that they picked out for Thanksgiving because orange was a Thanksgiving color. It worked brilliantly. The sight of orange immediately reminded me of my promise to be a more loving mom and not a yelling mom.

In fact, the shirts worked so brilliantly that I suggest all holidays this month change their signature colors to orange! Because holidays are wonderful and full of joy but also, full of stress and therefore full of opportunities to yell. So this holiday, now that I am woefully aware of how the stress makes me want to yell, I am going to remember my Orange Rhino promise and get back to the original saying “‘tis the season for giving.” This holiday season, I am going to give all the gifts that keep me from yelling, and then some.

I am going to give empathy to my boys. I am going to remind myself of how excited impatient, and hyper I was as a child as I waited for Santa to come. I will choose to be understanding of their behavior, not critical of it, even if I just want to scream chill out!

I am going to give enthusiasm to my boys. I am going to get excited about where the Elf is hidden; I am going to get excited counting down the days to Christmas; I am going to get excited talking about Santa even if I am tired of the same conversation, over and over again, or tired from a late night out or a late night up wrapping gifts.

I am going to give myself permission to not be perfect this Holiday season. I am going to remind myself daily that the best house decoration is a smile on my face; that the best wrapped gift is a joyous attitude; that the best holiday card is one that is mailed and not one with the perfect picture.

I am going to give myself a break when I step on the scale and it screams that I ate too many holiday cookies. I am going to tell myself it is okay, that tomorrow is a new day, that I need not criticize myself for enjoying the treats of the seasons.

I am going to give gratitude to everyone on my shopping list. Sure, a thoughtful, on-time present wrapped with a bow would be beautiful, but in case that doesn’t happen (because given this month, it won’t), I will write a meaningful note of how lucky I am that person is in my life.

I am going to give myself perspective. When I am up late meticulously wrapping presents I am going to remember that what is important this holiday is family, friends, love, tradition and memories and not the number of gifts under the tree or how pretty they are wrapped.  I am going to remind myself that a rested mommy will enjoy the memories as they happen more than a tired mommy who strove to make the memories perfect.

And I am going to give kindness to everyone, strangers, myself, my family, my friends. I am going to do random acts of kindness not just because it feels good, but also because sharing love is what the season is about.

Which brings me back to the beginning. ‘Tis the season for giving. Giving love that is. If I don’t give the gifts above, well, then I will most definitely give anger, frustration, shame and quite possible a big old yell to my boys. And that is most certainly not on my shopping list.

So season for yelling begone. ‘Tis the season for giving, the season for love, and I’m giving my boys the gift of not yelling.


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