While the general public gets to enjoy the holiday season with reckless abandon, real-life moms are often slower to celebrate. Sure, the holidays mean time with family friends, sampling treats and unwrapping gifts, but for that to happen, moms first have to drive to the family parties, bake the treats and wrap the gifts. It's safe to say that moms don't always get what they want for the holidays, especially if that wish is a nap and unchallenged control of the remote. Whether you're writing your own holiday wish list or thinking about what to get that mom who has everything, consider some of the priceless presents of the season for overworked, overtired moms.
Killer Family Recipes
Half the battle of cooking and baking during the holiday season is actually trying to think up what to make and then searching for the perfect recipe. If every mom had an arsenal of go-to family recipes that guaranteed her kids would actually eat, it'd relieve a lot of pressure—and a lot of leftovers. Grandma's sugar cookies and Uncle Ralph's bean dip would be easy peasy holiday staples to make it easier when you're totally kitchen bound.
A Family Movie Night
Whether you go out or stay in, Christmas movies are practically an American tradition. As an added bonus, they're one of the few holiday traditions that don't mean you also have to work yourself to the bone beforehand. Pop the popcorn, grab a blanket and talk your family into snuggling up while watching Elf, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and any other Christmas classics.
What's more festive than grocery shopping with a cup of Joe firmly glued to your hand? Hey, we won't judge; without coffee and cola, Santa might never even make it to town. And the best news comes from the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois: You can safely consume up to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, so don't feel bad about starting the holidays with a generous cup of coffee—we'll drink to that!
We can't remember a world without online shopping and moms shouldn't have to either. A subscription to something like Amazon Prime doesn't only mean uber-simple present purchases, but free shipping as well. It's invaluable on a holiday wish list, especially when the alternative is facing the busy mall during crazy sales. Just make sure to use your subscription wisely and order ahead so you have plenty of time to receive your stuff.
Fat-Free, Calorie-Free Chocolate
The holidays equal stress, and for some, that means eating. If there were a way to make chocolate good for you, we'd be all in. Still, if you can't indulge during the holidays, when can you? That's what your January New Year's resolutions are for.
An Invite to a Grown-up Party
While there's nothing wrong with a soiree that features a kid's table, you need at least one night during the season where you get dressed up, do your hair and talk to adults all night long. When you attend a party sans kids, you can relax more and remember a little bit about your life before you had to clean up soda spills and spoon-feed your brood.
A Wrapping Station
Let's face it: A large percentage of your season will be spent holed up in your room, crinkling paper and untangling tape. Why not make the job a little more pleasant by setting up an actual wrapping station? A couple of organized baskets of ribbon, spare scissors, some music and a little quiet time makes the job infinitely more pleasant than when you're up frantically wrapping into the wee hours on Christmas Eve.
Netflix (Or Any Other Movie Streaming Account)
Okay, while you might love Netflix for watching old episodes of Downton Abbey, having a Netflix account means that you have tons of options for family movies and an escape for your overstimulated kids. Being able to rely on My Little Pony to pick up the slack when your little ones are running amok means that you might actually get the kitchen cleaned or the cookies baked. Hey, little helpers are great; little helpers who stay occupied are even better.
Quality Spouse Time
Licensed marriage and family therapist Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill thinks that some "alone time" with your partner is the gift that keeps on giving. "I am forever making the point to my clients that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a happy marriage," she says. "So, on every woman's list should be some special time with her husband, to stay well connected, no kids allowed!" Grab a babysitter and head out for a cheapie hot chocolate and Christmas light date and the stress of the season won't permeate your relationship.
After slaving over the stove, decking the halls, gifting your entire family and shuttling back and forth from parties, nothing sounds more glorious than a long winter's nap.
So you might be getting gifts more along the lines of bathrobes and DVDs this year, but you can always dream. You can also make some of the items on your holiday wish list a priority so your family knows that you need, not want, some quality time or a nap. With all the hustle and bustle surrounding the holidays, taking a break for yourself is a gift that's seriously priceless.