A Chicago mom’s simple, magical Christmas to-do list

Christmas is less than a month away (insert panic attack here) and then there’s New Year’s. Everywhere I turn I’m hearing about Elves on Shelves, Polar Express train rides and elaborate countdowns for kids. I get a little overwhelmed just thinking about it.


I love Christmas, but it’s easy to feel lots of pressure to do everything and get stressed out. It makes me tempted to forget it all and have a stress-free holiday.

But when I remember how much I loved Christmas as a kid, I want my kids to feel the magic of the season for as long as possible. They’re growing up so fast and my time is limited.

So here’s my own personal “to do” list – simple but magical:

  • Elf on the Shelf

  • Bake Christmas cookies

  • Visit Santa

  • Drive around looking for great Christmas light displays

  • Movie night – Elf and popcorn

  • Wake the kids at midnight to ring in the New Year with mini hot dogs and drink egg nog

Our Christmas cookies will be homemade, but they won’t be pretty. I may doze off a bit during movie night but I’m pretty sure my kids won’t notice. My Elf on the Shelf poses won’t be legendary – in fact, I can guarantee there will be nights we forget to move the elves at all – but I’m encouraging my kids to believe in magical creatures.

What will you do to capture the magic of the holidays? And how will you keep it from getting stressful?

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