What makes you crazy this time of year? Be very careful – don’t “should” on yourself! (That’s a quote from Jeanne Watson Driscoll)

Holidays bring so many different kinds of emotions. Every one of us has memories and traditions, and somehow “the stuff” all gets so wrapped up in there too. We want to tell our kids how much we love them – and all of a sudden we’re wondering if we’re going to be able to do the laundry this week. Or we’ve racked up a credit card bill that is going to be trouble.

I have a lot of degrees. I started out in English literature, and then learned a lot about apples, vegetables, Vermont products and people while working at Allen Brothers Farmstand up in Westminster.

Dorothy Allen taught me one of the greatest life lessons ever: “No biggie.” She was always willing to help with something, or to help me look at a challenge in my life in a different way. (By the way, she wasn’t just the bookkeeper at Allen Brothers – she was also my pastor’s wife, and a real mentor to me as a new wife.)

So as you finish up the holiday preparations, and have a couple more days than usual home with your baby, your family, your friends, remember this simple mantra: No biggie. Hey I’m the Lamaze teacher – Take a nice cleansing breath in, and as your breathe out, just say it: No biggie. Here’s some ways to work it into your day.


Your baby is fascinated with the tree, and is trying to learn how to pull himself up to standing by grabbing the bottom branches. And shaking your ornaments off the tree.

No biggie – put a baby gate on the door to the room where the tree is. The baby can be in there only when you are, too. Take off the expensive ornaments – really, do they matter right now? If they do, get yourself a little tree for the top of your dresser and put them on there. Or hang them with thumbtacks from your window frames.

You always host the holiday party for your friends. Your house is – ahem, shall we say – not quite ready for prime time. No biggie. Do your invites. Make it a potluck. Then ask your two besties to come over and help you pick up – preferably the morning of party day. (You’ll get some picking up done even before they get there!) Only invite people that love you and the baby.

You don’t have enough money to buy all the presents for all the people you usually gift. No biggie – wow – this is a hard one. Obviously it’s too late to come up with one of those Pinterest-worthy crafts to gladden the hearts of all the people on your list. So think about what those gifts are really about – pleasing people? Or truly letting them know you love them? I know one year all the teachers on our list got mugs out of our cabinet with homemade cocoa mix. Another year we made a donation to March of Dimes and told quite a few people it was done in their honor – which was true. That $20 – or was it $10? – went a very long way. I am not going to even try to be funny on this one because you only make this mistake once. After that we drew names in our family!

Think through your traditions – and think about what you want your future as a family to look like. It may be “no biggie” to take your baby or child to the relatives’ homes – or it may be worth it to write down on a card what you are going to say to them, so you can practice it over and over. “We’ve decided that now that we are a family…..”

And then it’s no biggie – you’ve started a new tradition of doing it right. For you and for your new family!

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