Toddler Survival Guide: Holiday Edition

Holidays are a tricky time of year for anyone, but add a toddler to the mix, and you’re one step closer to a padded cell. Not only do you have to worry about finding a gift for them that is both practical and unable to maim you when thrown in a fit of rage, you also need to worry about shopping for everyone else; and that means braving the holiday mall-rush, which, on its own is a hefty task. With a ticking tantrum-bomb in tow, it may seem impossible.

Then there are the parties and family gatherings. Before having children, they were simply something you had to endure with a smile on your face, while pretending to love the ugly sweater and gift cards to obscure trinket stores from your smelly great-aunt. Now, however, they require careful planning to accommodate naps, meals, and adherence to a bedtime routine you’ve worked your ass off to maintain.

With all of the craziness that comes with celebrating the holidays, it seems more prudent to just avoid the whole shebang and hide under the covers in your fleece PJs. Unfortunately, that’s not an option, so here are some tips to get you through in one piece:

1: ALWAYS do your gift shopping in the morning or afternoon. Everyone and their uncles bombard retailers after work. If possible, start in July…two years ago. Saves everyone the hassle.

2: NEVER bring your toddler shopping for their own gift. You will wind up in Toys ‘R Us for 6 weeks and spend eight times more than you planned just to avoid the screaming match that will undoubtedly triple the length of time you’re there.

3: ALWAYS cart your rugrat along for other shopping trips. Nothing will move you through a ten-hour cash register line-up faster than a tantrum and explosive diaper.

4: NEVER host gatherings in your own home. Not only will it save you having to clean up after a tornado, but your toddler is in his own territory, meaning there are no limits to the embarrassing antics he’ll drum up. You certainly don’t want Junior handing your vibrator to Nana. You’d never get away with telling her it’s a neon green hand mixer.

5: ALWAYS have an escape plan. While toddlers can make holidays a hassle, they also provide a perfect out. Whether you’re at a work function, having your pants bored off by George-In-Accounting’s cat stories, or being bombarded by your sweaty, gross cousin twice removed, your little one offers a multitude of perfectly plausible excuses to run out the door. No one will question you when you present them with an overwhelmed, over-tired train wreck of a kid.

6: NEVER leave your child with a relative over the age of 45. Something about being over the hill causes a malfunction in the brain, leading them to believe 72 pounds of sugar is a good idea for a toddler.

7: ALWAYS know the location of the hardest alcohol in any house you are in. You’re going to need it.

8: NEVER forget a nap. The worst thing you could possibly do to yourself is skip your wee one’s nap. You’ve seen how destructive they get when this happens on a normal day…now add 36 relatives to it. Disaster.

9: ALWAYS know where the bathrooms are. If you’re sure Junior is safe from the grasp of the elderly, hide! Take that 5 minutes of fake-pooping time to regain your composure—or down a few rum and cokes.

10: NEVER take the little one Boxing Day shopping. You will never find a sale worth your sanity.

I loved your list and interestingly enough my husband and I used to joke about number five before we had kids saying we couldn’t wait to have that excuse someday.

Little did we know how much we would need and truly love that excuse to pieces!!


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