confessions of a total christmas slacker

Somewhere between Thanksgiving and insert-a-million-other-reasons-to-ease-my-guilt-and-make-me-look-better-on-my-complete-disregard-for-the-socially-acceptable here…  I totally dropped the ball.

The level of suckage doesn’t begin to describe my slackerdom.

Confession 1:

The other night, I got out of the house for the first time in a week, and went out with a few friends. They even drove because they live close, and sometimes it’s fun to pretend we’re in high school again. It’s a mental health kinda rule with me. Must. Leave. The house.

I say it’s so I can be a better mom, but in the end, we all know that leaving the house for a few hours really can save lives. It’s a double win.

When they pulled up to the driveway they texted me because there were three small hugging zombie mutants in the foyer and I had to escape while they clawed at my body whilst trying not to slam any appendages in the door. It’s like a game they play because I’m so awesome. I left Jamin to deal with the ensuing carnage behind.

When I slid into the back seat, my friends were staring at my door.

Wanting to give me credit, at first they thought it was a super cool new wreath I came up with for Christmas. Accented with… pumpkins.

Then, they realized it looked like a spider web. A Halloween spider web.

“Yep.” I said as we drove down the glitter-laden street decked in dazzling bokeh lights. We were headed to two hours of freedom in the form of dinner and seldomly-found adult conversation: “That would be our halloween wreath.”


There is no christmas porch reveal this year.

My propensity for murdering mums is even more pronounced, making the Halloween door so cool, I kind of wanted to leave it. I was waiting for rotten spots to appear on those pumpkins to up the anté even further. This is me, raising my fist to the gods of Christmas marketing in absolute rebellion this year.

Usually we do it for the kids, but they haven’t even noticed. Then we realized we’d be struggling for three hours in windy weather for two mere weeks of electricity-infused gratification.

So, it is what it is. And while we’re on the topic of dropping the ball, who made up this calendar? Seriously. Who’s in charge? The Mayans? They were in charge of the end of the world last year, right? Why did we only get three weeks this year? Jamin claims it’s Lincoln. (See: Jamin is a major history nerd, so sometimes that’s hot, and sometimes I want to throw things at his head when he’s not looking.) Lincoln seems like a nice guy (Curses to you, 1863!) Plus he’s on the penny and stuff.

So I blame the ancestral Mayans and their apocalyptic spaceships. Seems legit.


Our neighbors already think we’re crazy. Jamin is always cutting things, and I sometimes photograph them from the top of his shoulders. We don’t mind looking like a couple of weirdo acrobats all in the name of a great angle and better shot. That’s when we’re not squealing at wildlife, or super excited about shims.

So I’m basically just sealing the deal with said neighbors.


We’re officially those people. And I’m owning it this year.


Confession 2:

I want to punch the people who came up with this. In the throat. They’re basically the equivalent to the people who invented Fatheads and started marketing them to kids in between shows on Nickelodeon. I mean, really. There should be laws for common human decency and advertising to children at Christmas.

But I take full responsibility for being a complete idiot and buying into it. (The elves. Not the Fatheads.) It’s like this weird mix of current regret and future sweet memories derived from absolute obligation… Parenthood in a nutshell. So here we are. Struggling to remember every day because we’re total slackers.

I keep forgetting. So much so, that I relinquished the job to Jamin this year. Which really just results in jumping out of bed in sheer panic nearly every morning, like that scene from Home Alone when the parents oversleep. And it’s a mad dash to find a new place, while we blame each other, our teeth clenched in hissing voices whilst tiptoeing around – elves stashed behind our backs.

Our elves are super tired with a vitamin deficiency, and the head elf doctor dude told them not to travel too much this year. Or something like that is what we said when we were totally busted the other morning.

We will break up over this one. Mark my words.


Confession 3:

Christmas cards.

I tried to dig out the photos we had taken this last spring, and couldn’t find the CD after searching for a while. I looked for about ten minutes and decided to eat some chocolate instead. That just seemed like a better idea, not to mention it’s the one thing in our house that I can actually locate right now. In my world, not searching for three hours equals a win.

I would take a photo, but that would include getting everyone dressed and ready, and taking five hundred different versions of one shot. That also means finding one where the kids aren’t all gazing at me with confused faces while I threaten them within an inch of their life to smile. I don’t have the sheer determination to spend five hours photoshopping everyone’s distain from their expressions.

I love everyone who sent us one. I admire the fact that they have it together enough to send one. Please don’t scratch us from your list or defriend us, Christmas card friends. You know who you are. I figure our kids don’t really grow that much between each year, so if we’re on an every-other-year kinda cycle, it gives everyone an adequate update and you’ll be super impressed by how big they’re getting and absence is fondness and other happy thoughts.

It also saves the trees. And postal workers. Or something. I’m a postal rights environmental activist.

I had good intentions. I really did. And that counts for something.

Bonus round:

Let’s not forget about the time I did a little chalkboard art for our home tour, photographed, edited said photograph, published and pinned it. And I didn’t see my miss until an awesome reader kindly pointed it out. Evidence of my major miss can now be found all over the world wide internets.

For. E. Ver.

The www equivalent to spinach in my teeth.


This year, it felt kinda good to just let a few things go. Even my spelling.

I’m leaving up the Christmas ’til February. We’re having a dashinig good time. And that’s all that matters.

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59 Responses to confessions of a total christmas slacker

  1. Anita O says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time, and some of your post just crack me up! This one really got me! I will agree about the elf thing…so glad I didn’t buy into that thing. I’m certain we would forget every night as well! My kids are a bit older, so we are beyond the elf; but when my younger one would talk about somebody and the elf, my husband and I would say that an elf is not necessary in the house…we have a direct line, Santa doesn’t need a spy in this house to report what you are or are not doing. Why is it that the general population is not tearing apart ‘elf on the shelf’ for capitalizing on Christmas and our wallets?!? They ‘dislike’ when Christmas item are in the store too early. But I never hear complaints about that guy (other than from the rest of us who think the elf is just downright creepy looking). It’s OK that you still have Halloween decor on your porch – the Christmas decor is not what the true meaning is about anyway. Thanks for the laughs with your silly posts!

    • I was wondering how we would handle it if we DIDN’T do it, Anita. Good point. It’s like total peer pressure over here. That’s why we caved. ;} They’ve marketed this thing like crazy, and now it’s one more thing to take care of. It can be fun, but we brought ours out late this year just because we are total slackers! ;}

  2. Amy C says:

    Love this. Just the read I needed this morning while gulping down coffee, staring at my massive to do list and feeling overwhelmed for the holidays. We are all in this together… Thanks for the honesty.

  3. BJ says:

    FINALLY! One of the “big” bloggers who’s real. Thanks for sharing!!! Enjoy every minute of the imperfect, just-as-you-are Christmas you’re creating this year. Merriest of Christmases to you and yours – and enjoy all your dashinig! :)

  4. Dana says:

    I love you. I feel exactly the same about every confession in this post! I did get my Christmas decor up this year (because I had a baby last December and it didn’t happen then, so I missed doing it, plus I hosted a baby shower and birthday party at our house this weekend and had to fake having it together for once.)(But the decorations aren’t coming down until February!)

  5. Brie says:

    PEE MY PANTS FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Ash!!!!! Laughing so hard, my kids think I’ve been crying

  6. April says:

    Ok I had to laugh at the P.S. part but I am with you on some of the slacking. I am totally with you on the dang elf. We started this year and my 3 year old could literally care less. I am almost tempted to put him back where he came from and see if the little guy even notices. LOL

  7. Sherri S says:

    LOVE it! I don’t feel so bad now. Although some in my family are giving me a hard time about it. Even my 6 year old (who informed me this weekend the stockings need to be hung). I decorated my tree last week. This weekend I sort of decorated my mantel, sans the stockings obviously. And don’t even get me started on that Elf! He was WAY ‘late’ arriving this year because of course, it’s been very busy at the North Pole. ;-)

  8. Brittany says:

    I’ve never met you but I like you so much!

    Thanks for keeping it real!!

    And PS you’re not that much of a slacker cuz your interior holiday get-up looks amazing.

  9. Angela R says:

    We totally just took our pumpkins off the porch and hung the wreath yesterday. I just can’t get it all done early this year. Having a baby this year + late thanksgiving are totally screwing me up.

  10. Linda says:

    Thank you. I loved it! You are awesome! I read a few blogs, all of which are beautiful and perfect. With images of their children without a hair out of place quietly helping each other craft and amazing DIY and I want to burst into tears saying please tell me these people don’t live this way? That they are actually stressed out to the max trying to uphold this perfect image all the time! So bring on the dead mums! Mine are still there too! We are trying so hard to slow down and simplify this Christmas an idea I think we will carry on to the new year. SO thank you for being real and honest!

    • Hey Linda.

      Well, for starters, we’re all still in our pajamas today, just trying to finish school. Everyone’s hair is bedhead-ed today. ;} Jamin’s life and mine… it’s FAR from a magazine. Just to get that Christmas tour done, I was pushing it. ;} HA!

      But I know how you feel. I’m a blogger, and I feel that way. ;} For me, personally, It’s really hard to do what we do, without toe-ing the line a lot. I was talking to Karianne at Thistlewood Farms and a few other bloggers recently-and I can’t speak for everyone, and deep down I know people mean well- But we said that if we’re on our own nerves, with all the christmas stuff, we’re probably on our reader’s nerves. ;}

      It’s a hard thing to do, bring inspiration and keep it real. Everything is saturated and that’s both a good and bad thing. So I want to not only bring inspiration visually, but in spirit, as well. It’s okay to not have everything “done”, because I feel like we’re following some ridiculous set of rules. I will do what I feel like doing. I just don’t want to forget what the season is all about, and in turn, teach my children that stress is on the docket every day. So it’s okay to let some things slide. Heck. It’s okay to let everything slide. If we’re focused on what matters, who cares? I feel this ridiculous pressure every year, and I think it’s all about how we react to it. I don’t want guilt to get the best of me. ;} So in a way it was all in jest, but it is the absolute truth.

      I am with you. Carry on. ;}

  11. Bets says:

    Thank you for this post… I LOVE the “let’s be real, we’re not perfect” posts from design bloggers. Yeah, sure, I want to see the cool chalkboards and the creative, home-made advent calendars, but I also want to see your kids in their pjs mid-day and a shot of your ever-growing pile of laundry. Even the dust bunnies and dirty kitchen floor. Bring it ALL on because that’s what is REAL. In a strange way, it IS inspiring to see the good and the bad, because it makes all this home-making, holiday-creating stuff attainable. I want to see what you had to sacrifice (a clean kitchen, holiday baking and some trips to the gym) in order to hand-knit matching sweaters for your family holiday photo! Otherwise I think that “everyone else can do it ALL, why can’t I?” I hope your blogging buddies get similar kinds of comments from their readers… We don’t want you to be perfect!! xoxoxo Bets

  12. Aubrey says:

    I love this! And you! I have been having total Christmas guilt this year – “the tree isn’t real!” “We didn’t send cards!” “My blog doesn’t have a single Christmas reference yet!”
    So it is good to see that I am not alone in the Christmas slackerdom. Thank you. :)

  13. Melanie says:

    The fact that you misspelled dashing makes me like you ever more better!!! I didn’t even notice. No biggie.

  14. CJ says:

    Glad to see I am not the only one with pumpkins on the porch still! Mine don’t show any sign of rot yet either. I figure I have till the 21st and the end of fall to take them off. But I do have the Christmas lights and door decoration up. I just love pumpkins and have a very fun one in the mix on the porch.

  15. Kat says:

    That post rocks. And I hate the elf too.

  16. Julie says:

    Well thank heavens I’m not the only one!!!!
    No wreath, not a single decoration up, not a gift wrapped and
    the worst- the tree isn’t even up yet. Ai yi yi!!
    I think I should cancel Cheistmas this year due to lack
    of interest. Hosting Thanksgiving while sick did me in.
    While we all know mom’s don’t get sick days, holidays
    need to be the exception to that ‘rule’.
    And three weeks between Thanksgiving & Christmas?
    In whose world is that enough time, even with online
    shopping? Not mine.
    Have a happy one, anyway. What gets done gets done.
    What doesn’t, the dh will get in the doghouse for ( a non-
    Jamin, non-helpful sort-bless his heart!)

  17. Forgot to move our elf last night. Can. Totally. Relate. ;)

  18. This is amazing! I have felt so much pressure to decorate our house really cool for Halloween since I have a home blog. Everyone just assumes it will be decked out and amazing, and the truth is, we are remodeling and I can barely keep up with hanging curtains. I did a few tiny things like decorate our mantle, and a dresser and halfway decorated a tree, and that’s about it. But since Christmas isn’t really about that stuff, it’s okay.
    PS I had to read that sign 3 times before finding the extra “i”. And i am a copywriter. LOL.

  19. Stephanie says:

    Preach it, girl. Do what you gotta do. I always recycle the same decorations and this year was going to try to do crafty bunting, cute polka dot garland, etc… Not gonna happen. And no one in my house cares. It’s not like the children are exclaiming “mommy, I love how you have followed the design rules and varied heights and textures all while maintaining a harmonious color scheme! Bravo!” And my husband doesn’t even see anything I put up anyway. So this year it’s minimal. Very Scandinavian. Totally on purpose.

  20. Jennifer says:

    I just want you to know I’m rolling right now. Tears in my eyes. So happy right now!!! At work, in my cubi-hell, reading blogs of awesome stay at home moms with their life together and baking and cleaning and decorating and blah blah blah I go home to pure chaos and then this glooorrrrious wooonnderful blog comes up in my daily blogroll and the heavens parted and I thank my lucky stars for you and keeping it real posts like this. Thank you! You made my day – and holidays. Merry Christmas y’all!

  21. Kim says:

    Love this! While every night I fret on what to do with the elf this time, I do find I’m enjoying it because my son is almost 4 and for the first time really “gets” things. He has so much fun looking for Jingle – and our 10 year old daughter is still “buying” into all the magic and I don’t want that to end! So I will continue to fret. Luckily my husband has had some fun with it, too – though we are definitely repeating ourselves a little with what the elf is doing. Gotta mix it up for next year!
    The “perfection” of the internet can be a hazard, but I also love the inspiration – and you know what? I’m realistic and know that there is no fun house in this entire world that looks perfect at any given time. If it does, it’s not a fun place to be :) And I’m also giving in to the less is more idea this year. I need to be realistic with what I can and cannot do. Some things are a must – and some things are a fuss! I think asking the kids what’s important to them can help keep things in control – if they look forward to the cookie decorating, then do it. If they’d rather go to a bakery and pick out some fabulously decorated cookies, then enjoy! :)
    And always remember – our kids are watching so if we fuss over everything, expect it to be perfect, cringe at the messes or curse at the unkempt things, they will see that. And they’ll learn that’s what it should be like. I like that you see that it can be about the fun instead of the perfect. Enjoy the jammie school day – what fun!! :)

  22. Julianna says:

    And welcome to the life of a homeschooling mom : )

  23. Ricki says:

    I am laughing so hard at this! I think you may be my kindred spirit…
    (1) I only just threw away my pumpkins this weekend. My mom told me they clashed with the ornaments on my Christmas wreath.
    (2) Our elf on the shelf is a little plastic elf from some random movie that came in a happy meal last year. He doesn’t do crazy antics. He just moves around the gingerbread house, and even then I forget to move him half the time and regret ever starting it.
    (3) I gave up on mailing out Christmas cards long ago. Pretty much everyone we know is on Facebook now, so I snap a quick pic of the kids and our pug, slap a couple of Santa hats on the kids and reindeer antlers on the dog via Picmonkey, and post it for all to enjoy. It’s environmentally friendly and the $$ I would have spent on cards and postage goes into the official “Mommy needs a latte while Christmas shopping” fund. Bonus!

  24. Danielle says:

    Can I just say… Thank goodness for your post today!! I am so tired of other blogs telling us about their perfectly decorated house that I have wanted to stop reading because its just too much! I really think that Christmas needs to be more than our decorations. Thank you for sharing your heart and being honest… Because, really you could have kept it hidden from us but we love you for being real.
    Merry Christmas ! I am so glad we have Jesus to celebrate instead of a well decorated house. :)

  25. Julie says:

    I love this post! I decided to retire our elf this year. I was soooooooo over it!

  26. Martha says:

    Thank you for sharing. We have a new house this year that’s so much better than our old one with a cute porch and everything. But…my dead mums are still out there and I just threw the rotting pumpkin in the trash last night. Christmas guests will be here later this week and there’s nothing cute or Christmasy out there except for the snow covering one of the big mums I was so proud to buy in the fall. I tend to get too stressed trying to make things just right, but I’m trying to let things that don’t matter that much go this year and enjoy the holidays and family.

  27. Amy W says:

    This post makes me smile and laugh. I appreciate that someone else is crazy behind on Christmas cards… maybe I’ll be sending out Valentine’s Day picture cards this year!

  28. Mindy says:

    Thank you for this! So glad we’re not the only one “slacking” in the Christmas decor department! I too, have dead mums in our window boxes and was actually excited it snowed this weekend to cover them up! It’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  29. Summer Hogan says:

    This post maid my day! Enuf said :) That d*#n elf!

  30. Molly says:

    I still have my fall wreath up … and my dead mums. Right there with you! And I don’t even have kids… whats my excuse?! ha! I love that you are real and can laugh at your spelling… we all do it and that’s life. Just roll with it ! :D

    PS- Just printed my Christmas cards about an hour ago.. 9 days till Christmas. yep.

  31. Moriah says:

    Right there with ya sister! I am so tired I didn’t even see the misspelling. No need explain, we all understand.

  32. Cecilia says:

    Yeah, I wondering how long I can milk the broken knee ’cause let’s face it, it is a very good excuse and totally lets me off the hook. :)

  33. Beth says:

    I tossed our front porch pumpkins into our bushes the other day before our life group came over bc I was too lazy to take them around to the trash cans! Our outdoor Christmas lights and trees are still piled on the front porch and our elf is where it’s been the past three years…in the box, unopened bc I’m not going down that slippery slope! Thanks for keeping it real!

  34. Autumn says:

    You just made me feel so much better! The spider wreath still up is hilarious.
    We didn’t have family photos done this year and I haven’t gotten around to cards, so the only people getting them are people that have already sent us one this year and they are getting generic 10 year old boxed ones I found stashed with the ornaments. I think that may be my new tradition. Everyone is on facebook and sees photos all year anyway. My kids have asked for an elf for a while but I put I kept “forgetting” not wanting to add the stress and then ended up with one in a white elephant gift exchange. It’s still in the box, in the closet (the kids don’t know about it) and I’m thinking he’s hanging out there till next Christmas, at least. Oh and I bought a bunch of ingredients but haven’t baked a single darn thing. That sweetened condensed milk shouldn’t expire until next December at least.

  35. Barbi says:

    Awesome!!!! Fabulous!!!! You made my day!!!!
    Merry Christmas to you and have a dashinig jolly fun time!!!

  36. Keeping it real…love this post!

  37. Heidi says:

    You are so hilarious. Seriously. I feel your pain-but pity me: this year Thanksgiving intersected with Hanukkah. I needed more time!!!!!! (Can you hear me whining across the miles?)

  38. Ali says:

    So funny!!! I got the christmas wreath up about two weeks ago, but My husband informed me yesterday that our dead mums and pumpkin (I tried to hide it behind a bush!) clashed with our christmas wreath on the front door so I just moved them! :)

    Also, I think this would have made the perfect christmas card picture – your kids are too cute! and PS New Year Cards and Valentines cards are TOTALLY a thing so if you wanted to do one just be super cool and send one after the fact :)

    Thanks for keeping it real!

  39. Elisabeth says:

    LOL! OK, so I have no kids and do have a swag on my door (only bc I bought it from a friend’s child for boy scouts). However, that elf? SUPER CREEPY!!! And I have no doubt I would forget to move it and make up some elaborate story about how the elf decided he didn’t like to move or something.
    Also, my family has a tradition of photos in front of the Christmas tree. Now, when we were little we had to get all dressed up and everything. And we leave the tree up well into Jan most of the time so it would be like super inconvenient and everyone would be all grumpy. It’s now become a tradition to take cranky-looking/disheveled photos in front of my Mom’s tree. (We are all adults between 25-34). I have to say it is pretty funny.
    Happy Christmas!

  40. you are very not alone with the Christmas card thing – usually we have a whole door full of them. This year, we have a grand total of one!

    Makes me smile – I just think that everyone is cutting back, making the season easy this year. At least it sounds good!

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  42. you totally made my morning. I haven’t laughed out loud this hard in awhile. Amen sister, Amen.

  43. Sally says:

    I know… I am a complete stranger, but humor when I say…. I CANNOT EVEN TELL YOU HOW MUCH THIS POST MAKES ME LOVE YOU. My porch? A wreath. Period and Amen. Elf-on-a-shelf? In my day our elf (yes, we had one) knew how to sit still for an entire holiday season. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure he would’ve been hung out to dry. Christmas cards? Um, no. Not for a few years. As to the misspelled words – you’ve confirmed you are human. My confession? I am too. =)

    To you, the merriest of Merry Christmases! I think your head might be more in the right place than lots of people! Thanks for keeping it real!

    Sally @DrinkingFromMySaucer

  44. I feel like we could truly be best mates after reading this. I have the same dead mums (although bonus… I have some dead cabbages as well!). I also have my christmas decorations lined up on my dining room table this year… just waiting to be gingerly placed in the most terrific spot… they will be put back in their boxes 12/26.

    And the elves…those damn elves. I also want to punch the other moms who act like its no big deal to work all day, do dinner, clean up, work more, and then stage an elf production… Sorry, I’m bitter!

  45. Pingback: My Christmas Home Tour… | Shes.No.Martha

  46. Donnamae says:

    You are living my past life…20-25 years ago. Too funny! Thank goodness I didn’t have to deal with an elf, too! Love your front porch…you are already for next Halloween! Merry Christmas! ;)

  47. sheila says:

    This is the best blog post of the season, in all of blogland. I like your style and laughed out loud at least ten times. It even took me a really long time to figure out what you had done wrong on your chalkboard art. Thanks for this post, it is just what I needed. Have a VERY Merry Christmas!

  48. Christie says:

    Just saying hey from a fellow mum-murderer. My husband stopped buying them for me after a few years, but I do kind of miss the week of enjoyment before the guilt and insecurity sets in.

  49. Judy T. says:

    Hooray! I can so identify, and I absolutely appreciate your honesty.
    Have a Merry Christmas! Remember, Christmas is about the birth of our Savior and not all the trappings.
    Again, I love the honesty.

  50. Susan says:

    Awesome, I’m having the same kind of Christmas. I make the oldest child move the elf around and sometimes he hangs in the same place for days. My husband refuses to put lights outside because he can’t see them from inside the house. I did manage to toss the pumpkins sorta I can still see a couple of them in the yard when I look out the back window. I tried some chalkboard art for about ten minutes only to give up after numerous strange looks from my kids as they passed by me. Sometimes it’s okay to drop the ball.Right? Merry Christmas.

  51. kells says:

    omg can we be friends. you are a crack up. I found you through the nester and I love you. and I will totally go dashinig through the snow with you cus, dangit, you’re plucky!

  52. Margaret Hackett says:

    I sprayed the dead chrysanthemums outside the front door gold and stuck a read ribbon in them.