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Please retailers, only one holiday at a time

What holiday am I preparing for? Do I need zombie face paint or a new tree skirt?

I bet there are a lot of momma bears running around Wesley Chapel buying Halloween costumes right now and putting finishing touches on their home décor. Or maybe, if you really love the fall holidays, you knocked out all the decorating over Labor Day weekend. You know who you are — with the perfect festive front door wreath and some colorful gourds for your table’s centerpiece.

I get it. As a native Floridian, I love fall, too. As soon as the temperature dips down to the 80s and you feel a slight breeze, it is suddenly “Fall Y’all”. Moms are victoriously making their lists of family-friendly places to experience fall festivals, mazes and getting the perfect pumpkin patch photo.

I am so proud of myself for getting my girls their Halloween costumes in September this year. Talk about slaying motherhood! Typically, I am that mom who scrambles to put together the kiddo’s ensembles the week before the big night. Kudos to me for being way ahead of the game for once. However, if I was really on top of it, I could have purchased their costumes in July to receive an early bird discount.

Yes, July. I was sitting on the beach enjoying my summer vacation, catching up on emails and there they were. Several loud reminders telling me to hurry up because Halloween was coming soon. Of course, I deleted the emails — who the heck is thinking about fall holidays when their toes are in the sand? The only thing I was buying was another thirst-quenching margarita.

After soaking up some vitamin sea, the next big hurdle I needed to prep for was getting the kids ready to go back to school. I knew when we returned home it would be a mad dash for school supplies, new clothes and fresh haircuts. Once we survive getting the kids off to their new homeroom, we can chill out again for about a week.

August is when so many people switch gears toward fall. What is the rush? Why can’t we get through one celebration at a time? Please pump the brakes, I haven’t even conquered Halloween yet. I am at the store looking for tights, face paint and hair dye for trick or treating and the retail Christmas displays are going up. Before you know it, you are sending out Halloween party invitations and simultaneously booking appointments for Christmas mini photo sessions. Why? Because we all must have the perfect holiday greeting card.

Before Thanksgiving arrives, the Valentine’s Day stuff will be out. While we are at it, I should start planning our vacation for the summer of 2020. Seeing holiday decorations and urgent messages to buy now at the big box stores gives me such anxiety. Christmas and holiday prep are major stressors for so many of us, I cannot mentally go there this early. Anticipating all that I must do —now — to get ready for December just puts more on my to-do list and steals my joy.

I am overwhelmed just thinking about it. No wonder so many parents are having nervous breakdowns. What day is it? What holiday am I preparing for? Do I need zombie face paint or a new tree skirt? What’s my name again?

When we are always in planning mode and focused on executing the perfect memory we miss out on the joy of the moment and the actual experience of being with friends and family. Our new family motto is more laughter, less perfection. In the spirit of preserving my sanity I will plan for holidays no more than 30 days in advance.

Lynn Cristina is a mother of two who works full time as a marketing manager. Contact her at lcristina@tampabay.com or on Instagram @lynncristinablogs.

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