If you were around this summer I am certain that you were bombarded with articles, even if you had the sense not to read them, containing some version of “You Only Have 18 Summers” as their theme. No? Only me? Well then, consider yourself one of the chosen ones that the Facebook Gods have shone a light on. As a matter of fact, you should probably consider some sort of ritual sacrifice to keep on their good side. Since vestal virgins and active volcanoes are hard to come by, might I suggest a certain “shelf elf” and a roaring fireplace?

But why does that matter now, I hear you asking? I’m stuck in a frozen winter hellscape and summer is the furthest thing from my mind. Because the same Pinterest possessed, shame-inducing, holier than thou moms who wrote those articles sat down and did some math homework and have figured something out……you also only have 18 Christmases!

Oh yeah, they’re baaaaack bitches! And they are writing more articles designed to put the fear of becoming a total holiday failure in you.

There are so many things wrong with this perspective I cannot possibly begin to list them all, but let’s start with the obvious. 18? Really? And then what? They disappear into a puff of smoke, never to be seen again? I have a 21-year-old living at the end of the hallway that I submit as exhibit A for proof that isn’t true. And everyone knows that even if they go away to college across the country, the two times a year every college kid comes home are — wait for it —summer and Christmas! By the time you add student loans, lack of upward wages and everything else into the equation, I’d say you have closer to, oh say,  27 Christmases? Give or take.

On the flip side, if we are talking about time to “create magic,” (and make no mistake, that’s exactly what these elf-obsessed, overachieving, holiday crack pushers want) you have so many less than 18. So many less. Go ahead, try and pry the cell phone out of your 16-year-old son’s hands, cram him into a giant set of feetie pajamas and put him on some fake Polar Express style train ride. I dare you. Then come back and tell me just how damn “magical” it was. I’ll be waiting.

Either way, the point is the same….”the clock is ticking, make magic happen for your children!”

If this was going to work on anyone, you would think it would be me. My youngest is 17 and therefore this is her *gasp* 18th Christmas. OH NO. The last chance ever for me!

So, I’m here to tell you something, and I truly mean this—It is not your job to twist yourself into some sort of Gordian knot, exhausting yourself to the point that you might not recover by the time “magical summer” arrives, in order to create memories for your kids.

Do your kids a favor instead and show them that Christmas means relaxing, spending time with family and enjoying yourself. Make some of those break-n-bake style cookies, hell, just buy some damn cookies, and sit down and watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas. And when you get to the part where they say that the Grinch’s heart is 3 sizes too small, be sure to tell them that happened to him because he tried to overdo the Christmas magic one year and never recovered.


Melissa Morritt Coble

Melissa Coble is a mom living in Phoenix, Arizona just trying to survive the teenage years with a lot of laughs, an occasional rant, and copious amounts of wine. You can find her counting the days until her nest is empty on her blog An Unfit Parent and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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