The holiday season is just around the corner, and as I start looking forward to the things I’ll do with and for my kids, it got me thinking about how you approach the holidays differently with kids. Mostly there is less, or at least more discreet, drinking involved. (All manner of booze can be enjoyed out of a coffee mug on Christmas morning.) Gone are the days of “T-Man and Patty’s Christmas Explosion” – an actual annual Christmas party thrown by my college roommate and I – and in are matching family pajamas. Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some festive lounge wear, but the times they have changed.
So thinking now about the new joys, and the new pains, that come with being a parent on holidays, I give you the official ranking of holidays to celebrate as a parent.
Still the undisputed champ, no explanation needed. What is understood doesn’t need to be discussed.
Trying to get to multiple to parties in one night has been replaced by trying to get my kids to enough houses trick or treating and get back to my house to pass out candy in one night. Both are fun, but in very different ways. The best costumes used to be a mad libs game of “Sexy [noun]”, now they are seeing what adorable thing I can dress my kids up as. Spoilers – anything you dress a little kid up as is freaking adorable. If you put a tiny person in it, it immediately becomes the cutest skeleton, penguin, bear, monkey, snowman, pumpkin, cupcake, any random inanimate object you’ve ever seen. So between the fun of costumed kids and the parent tax on candy (I’ve got to wet my beak), Halloween is an upgrade after having kids.
This one is also heavily influenced by the adorableness of undersized people dressed in overly elaborate clothes. Fancy little dress and a floppy hat on a girl or a tiny vest and bow tie on a little guy – I’ve never wanted more to live inside of a J. Crew catalog. My family would be best friends with the bi-racial family on the next page wearing cable knit sweaters while sitting out on thier dock, I just know it. Also similar to Halloween, the amount of children’s candy that I eat is substantial. I’m not going to let a two year-old eat enough chocolate to even make a dent in a chocolate bunny, but I sure will let me. And maybe it’s just my kids, but three days after they get the candy, the completely forget it exists. If I purposely move it out of their sight lines, it’s two days and I’m crushing jelly beans like Ronald Reagan on bender.
4. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
This one shoots way up the ranking with kids compared to without. I get a day off of work but the kids are still in school and/or daycare. It’s a holiday that is a day filled with nothing but me time, and isn’t that every parents dream?
5. (Tie) Labor Day and Memorial Day
I have a hard time remembering which is which, and they are pretty interchangeable. You’re going to either stay home, barbecue, and do yard work, or take a little weekend trip somewhere and be amazed at how much you have to pack for your kids when you’re only going to be gone for three days.
This one definitely drops a few spots as a parent. The food is still great, watching the Detroit Lions attempt to play something resembling professional quality football is painful, and it’s still one day too early to start listening to Christmas music. But the major change is your actual enjoyment of the meal. The effort needed to get small people to eat more than a roll and one bite of turkey is truly staggering. I don’t think its tryptophan that makes people sleepy after dinner, we are literally exhausted asking for one more god forsaken bite.
7. Mother’s Day
You’d think a day devoted specifically to honoring a parent would be higher on the list, but it just ain’t so. I assume it will change when my kids get older, but right now they are too little to really do anything other than come “help” me shop for something, so this is really more like Wife’s Day. And when you’re married to me, isn’t that everyday?
8. Father’s Day
Same as Mother’s Day, the celebration of this falls on my wife. Dad has to take a backseat to Mom, so they aren’t tied for 7th. I also find it interesting that Mother’s day usually means a nice brunch somewhere, and Father’s Day means getting something to grill, so I am essentially making myself dinner on my own holiday.
9. Valentines Day
This one also suffers with the addition of small humans who can walk into your bedroom at any moment. And who doesn’t love a nice romantic dinner that you’ll spend the whole time talking about your kids anyway, and then making sure you’re home in time so you don’t have to pay the sitter extra. But hey, more chocolate.
10. St. Patrick’s Day
Not sure if it’s being a parent or just being older, but this one sure is past it’s prime. I’m not though. The holiday is. I’m not too old for this shit, I’ve just got to get the kids off to school in the morning. I could still hang. Are you looking at my hair line? I’m not old, you’re old. Why is the music so damn loud? Get off my lawn.
11. New Year’s Eve
I’m already so tired all the time and now I’ve got to stay up to midnight on purpose? New Year’s used to be one of the best parties of the year, now it makes me understand what Dan Fogelberg was singing about.
12. 4th of July
You mean I get the option of taking my kid to a parade or an overcrowded beach and either way I get to carry them and/or all their crap and sweat through all my clothes? And the added bonus of people in my neighborhood lighting off fireworks all night with complete disregard for the baby I just got to fall asleep? The hardest of passes. Pre-kids this was a top five holiday, with kids it’s last. My daughter’s birthday is close to July 4th, maybe we can just start skipping this one and tell her that everybody is just really excited for her birthday?
That’s the list. Apologies to anybody who celebrates a holiday that isn’t on the list. If I haven’t experienced it I don’t know how to fairly rank it, but I have heard nothing but good things about Hanukkah and Dia De Los Muertos looks cool. Ah, to be a Mexican Jew.