Unpopular Opinion: The Holiday Season is Stressful

Halloween is over, so now we have officially entered the 2021 holiday season.

I never found the holiday season stressful until I had kids. What used to be an exciting, laid-back season with lots of breaks from work and a party here and there has turned into a packed calendar, endless money to be spent, many checklists, and no rest at all.

As a mom, there is so much pressure to do all of the things.

The first must-have is perfectly executed family pajamas. Which means you have to remember to order them before everyone else does and they sell out and have to guess what size your kids may or may not wear by December. Then gifts have to be decided on and purchased for every kid, every family member, every teacher, etc. These gifts then have to be wrapped and labeled. Don’t forget to figure out dropping off gifts to anyone you don’t see regularly or mailing them to out-of-town family members.

You have to go get a tree or pull the old faithful fake tree down from the attic. Now, it’s time to get the tree up and decorated. You may want to switch your color scheme, and I’m sure you can’t find something you swore you packed up a year ago. At the same time, you have to update your house decor to look like a winter wonderland (in New Orleans). So get ready to make no less than 3 trips to Target or the craft store.

You also have to continue family traditions while also creating your own.

You better hope you booked your family’s holiday photoshoot months in advance or else good luck finding anyone with availability for Christmas pics. If you were lucky enough to secure an appointment or find a last-minute mini session, you’ll need to scramble to coordinate the outfits for that. Do you do Christmas cards? If so, you have to select those, gather addresses, and get them in the mail in a timely fashion.

Don’t forget about your extended family. You have to continue family traditions while also trying to create your own. What do Christmas Eve and Christmas day look like? Don’t forget to plan your family’s meal and route if you have to pop over to several homes. Also, when you leave the house, don’t forget to figure out which gifts under the tree need to be brought to who and each house. Gentle reminder: you didn’t forget a gift for the host did you?

You aren’t a New Orleans family if you don’t find time for Celebration in the Oaks, right? So fit that in one night in lieu of your normal bedtime routine. Your kids are absolutely going to want to ride the train when they see it, so just save yourself time and buy the tickets now.

Is your family religious? If so, don’t forget the reason for the season and try to squeeze in some lessons along the way.

Other things you can’t forget – you have to decorate cookies or a gingerbread house one day. And watch a Hallmark movie too.

Don’t you dare not have an Elf on the Shelf. And Santa of course. So time for another photoshoot with Santa, and another outfit needed.

I hope you’ve been saving for this all year because there is so much money to be spent.

Mark your calendars for the days that daycare and schools are closed, so you can remember to figure out how to entertain your kiddos all day.

You also probably have a holiday party or two (or 7) to attend, so pull out some sparkly dresses for that. While you’re at it, look for 3 tacky holiday sweaters, holiday socks, and more pajamas for themed events that will pop up with almost no notice.


And I’m sure it goes without saying that most of this balancing falls on the default parent. So for me, the holiday season just adds more never-ending things to my never-ending to-do list.

And just like you all, I fall guilty to most of this every year. Our photo shoot is booked, tree color scheme is decided on, and I just got the shipping confirmation for our pajamas. It’s cliché, but the smile on my toddler’s face will be worth it all, so I succumb to the pressure. But as my kids get older, holiday burnout may win. So don’t be surprised if you hear me say we are taking the holiday season off and going on vacation instead.

Come on, I can’t be alone?!

Wake me when it’s Mardi Gras… that’s my season of choice.

Danielle Blanco
Danielle is a native New Orleanian. She graduated from Ben Franklin and attended the University of New Orleans' undergraduate and graduate schools. She and her husband Abraham married in 2017 and welcomed their son Blaise in 2019 and son Beckham in 2021. She balances motherhood with working full time as the Director of People and Culture in the local healthcare and education industries. She is learning to embrace the chaos of life as a Mom. Danielle’s current struggle is navigating preschool options for her oldest and managing the endless appetite of her youngest. This type-A mama can usually be found on the go with a to-do list and a plan. She enjoys trying new things, thrifting, and is always in the middle of glittering or a DIY project. Additionally, she never turns down a happy hour or beach vacation. She is excited to experience New Orleans as a mom and is truly proud to call it home.


  1. Yeah…you can say no to all of that.
    The kids don’t need matching pajamas or a color coordinated Christmas tree to have a good holiday.

    And if something is crazy busy or stresses you out, just say no.


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