Without a doubt, Christmas is more fun when you have kids—but it's also a heck of a lot more messy and chaotic. While once you may have painstakingly decorated holiday cookies a la Martha Stewart, now that you have kids, it's more like adding some cookies to a pile of icing. But that's OK, because nothing beats the spirit kids bring to the holidays.
Here, nine differences between Christmas then and Christmas now.
Before Kids: Your tree was as Instagram-worthy as an Anthropologie storefront. Everything was color-coordinated, and of course, all of the ornaments were evenly-distributed throughout.
Now: Your tree is less shabby chic and more...preschool classroom. Most of the ornaments are sweetly handmade, and you've got about 90 "Baby's First Christmas" ones from all your kind friends and family members. Oh, and only the top half is decorated since nothing is more alluring to a little one than a shiny ornament dangling from a tree.
Before Kids: You and your partner would pick a night to have dinner and browse some cute shops, taking all the time you needed in order to choose the perfect gifts for your list of loved ones.
Now: One word: Online.
Before Kids: You scoured the web for the most original, most delicious, and most complicated cookie recipe to impress your friends and family. You spent an afternoon decorating each one to a T. And yep, you always won the holiday bake-off at work.
Now: You decide to bake whatever cookies your little ones want, which basically means you've got two options: Sugar or chocolate chip. In no universe are your children going to let you do the decorating, so essentially what you're left with is a massive pile of red and green icing.
Before Kids: Ahhh...wrapping gifts before you were a parent. A fun, grown-up craft! Maybe you'd put on a movie or some holiday music and get to wrapping! The more Pinteresty and elaborate, the better!
Now: You have approximately one hour to get your gift-wrapping done, and it has to fall some time in between after you put your kids to bed, before they get up to ask for a drink/snack/story/flashlight, and before you pass out on the couch from sheer exhaustion. And then comes the issue of finding a place to hide them...
Before Kids: A holiday party! The perfect time to dress up and let loose with people you haven't seen in a while. Yay!
Now: A holiday party? You spend 20 minutes trying to convince your kid not to wear his Elmo shirt for the fifth day in a row; you personally throw on whatever's clean; and you wind up leaving the party an hour after you get there because if there's one thing you're not messing with, it's your kid's bedtime.
Before Kids: What's better than cozying up with a cup of tea and a book and watching the pretty snow...from inside?
Now: You spend approximately 35 minutes getting your kids into their jackets/snow pants/gloves/hats/scarves. Then, about five minutes after you take them out (in your windbreaker and a pair of sweats!), they want to come in because they're cold.
Before Kids: You would wake up at what would be considered a non-torturous hour—say 8:30 or 9:00?—linger over a cup of something warm and toasty, and slowly make your way to the Christmas tree.
Now: "Wake up " isn't quite strong enough. You're more "thrust into consciousness" long before the sun has even considered making an appearance by small, screeching voices, who are dying to see the loot Santa brought them. You're thrilled to see them, but kindly ask if they can at least wait until you get some coffee brewing—to which they simply scream in your face. So you take that as a "no."
Before Kids: You and your loved one thought long and hard about what to get each other, and no doubt, you each delivered the absolute perfect present. Sure, you spent a little more than you planned on, but hey, that's why they call them "special occasions."
Now: Gifts for each other? Oops! After thinking about the kids so much, you may have forgotten to buy your significant other anything at all. But, hey, the macaroni necklace from your son totally makes up for the diamond one he flushed down the toilet last week.
Before Kids: It was easy as one, two, cheese! You had all the time in the world to "primp," and naturally you were well-rested. It was impossible not to take a good photo!
Now: Trying to get the perfect family photo when you've got small kids is a lot like trying to fit a square peg through a needle eye. It's scientifically impossible. The ratio of eyes to the amount of time it takes to snap a photo makes the probability of getting a good picture—one where everyone is smiling and has their eyes open—practically nil. Thank goodness for Photoshop!