An open letter to last minute holiday shoppers

It’s only days before Christmas and the stores are jammed with those getting their last minute shopping done.  Normally I am one of them, but luckily this year, aside from a Secret Santa gift, I am completely done.  I know what I need to get and where to get it and will be in and out in hopefully less than 10 minutes.

Over the years I have seen 2 different types of last minute shoppers.  They are:

1. The “I never meant to leave it this late.” Shoppers

These are the shoppers that truly did not ever want to leave their shopping this late.  They hate the crowds but life sometimes gets in the way and schedules don’t always fall into perfect place.  They have their list ready, they know what stores they want to hit and knowing that it is this last in the game, they have a back up list in case  the items they want are not available.   They go in with a mission and do not stray from that mission.  They are patient, they are courteous and they try to make the entire experience pleasant as possible for everyone involved.

2.  The “I don’t care about anyone but myself.” Shoppers

These are the shoppers that quite frankly, feel like Christmas is more of a nuisance than it is about family and giving.  They can’t be bothered to think ahead, make a game plan, they leave it all to the last minute without a care for anyone else it may involve. They don’t have a list so they wander aimlessly, completely oblivious to anyone around them.  Then when they decide they know what they want to buy and subsequently find it is not in stock, they huff and puff and are rude to the staff in the stores.  They expect everyone to stop and serve them regardless of the inconvenience it causes others around them.

These are the shoppers that I have a real issue with.  The holidays are a busy time for EVERYONE.  Being rude and obnoxious because you left everything to the last minute just makes it bad for everyone.  Yes, not finding what you want can be frustrating.  I started looking for a few certain items in the beginning of November and found they were already out of stock then.  So leaving it until the week before and complaining to store staff because everything isn’t readily available is uncalled for.

And fighting with people in the parking lot over spots, come on people!  The holidays seem to bring out the worst in some people, when it should be bringing out the best.

I don’t work in retail and it is times like this that I am thankful for that.  I really have to give credit to those that do.  Having to put up with people that don’t care about anyone but themselves and don’t care if they are rude and upset others has to be stressful.  They work longer hours and have very little time off for the holidays so that people can get their shopping done, so give them a break and remember that a little kindness goes a long way.

So there is my rant for the holiday season.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and kindness and love reign over you.

Note:  This post was originally published in December 2016 but has been updated.


Surviving the holidays when sharing custody


Sharing custody of your child(ren) can always be stressful.  Add on the hussle and bussle of the holiday season and the stress levels can skyrocket.  This can be especially true if you and the other parent do not have a positive co-parenting relationship.  Even if there is a great relationship between the 2 parents, sharing custody will always mean that there are times that the child(ren) are not with you and this can make for upset, stress and confusion for the children as well.  Surviving this stress without excessive upset to anyone needs a lot of patience.

I definitely don’t claim to be anything close to an expert in this subject, but having been doing this for 9 years now, I feel I can share a few things that work for me and what doesn’t work for me.


I think typically if you share custody, then you alternate years for who has Christmas eve/Christmas morning.   In my home, regardless of where my son wakes up on Christmas morning, Santa will always have visited our home.  On years that my son arrives to my home in the afternoon on Christmas day, his stocking and gifts from Santa are waiting there for him.  I explain to my son, that Santa knows that he celebrates Christmas in 2 homes so he drops gifts off at both homes.    In the years that I have my son on Christmas Eve/morning, we open our family presents on Christmas Eve day so that he can have time to enjoy playing with them and then Santa gifts on Christmas morning.


Only having my son 1/2 the time, inevitably there are events that we will be invited to that fall on times he is with his father, that he won’t be able to attend.  We are used to this and although neither of us like it, we deal with it.  Of course, depending of the significance of the event, one can always try to negotiate with the other parent  to switch times/days.  Sometimes this can work out or ultimately cause further stress and upset.  Over the years, I have learned what battles to fight and which ones to let go.  I just hate my son missing out on things due to his parental situation.

Advent Calendar

We are not a religious family, but my son still likes to partake in the count down to Christmas with an Advent Calendar.  This one is kind of tough as he isn’t always able to open each window on the correct day.  Sometimes after being at his dad’s for a few days, he has a bunch of little windows to open and subsequently several little chocolates to eat.  It’s definitely not the best scenario and almost feels like it defeats the purpose when he isn’t able to open the windows on the correct days, but I am not going to take away a little tradition that a lot of his other friends partake in.  This year I actually created my own advent calendar and only made it for the actual days that my son is with me.

Traditions in general

This one is the one I have the hardest “surviving”. I would love to be able to have a Christmas Eve tradition and a Christmas morning tradition that we can do every year, but when he spends those days at his dad’s every other year, it’s a little bit difficult. Luckily, there are things like putting up the tree and seeing one of the local Santa parades, and pictures with Santa that we can work our schedule around and make traditions out of those.  We make the best of what we have and enjoy the season the best we can with the time we have.  It’s all about the quality of time we have together not the quantity.

Since we have a set schedule for the holidays, family always knows in advance when we can celebrate together and when we can’t.  It can sometimes make things tricky when we have to worry about the weather for travelling but we keep that in mind too and have contingency plans in place in case the weather decides not to cooperate.

This “sharing” the holidays is definitely not what I signed up for when I became a Mom, but I want my son to grow up enjoying all the love and excitement that the holiday season has to offer and  not having to do without.

Wishing you and yours the happiest and stress-free holiday season!



Creating Holiday Memories at Christmas

As we were putting up the Christmas tree this past weekend, I couldn’t help but sit and think about all the great memories of Christmas’ past when looking at all the homemade ornaments I have collected over the years that my son had made.  I love that every year something has come home from his school or daycare that he had made himself that we could put on the tree.

Anyone who knows me, knows that my Christmas tree is never one of those perfectly curated ones that adorn people’s Instagram profiles.  Mine is always a hodgepodge of memories collected year after year from my son.  And truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

memories on the tree

I am a total sucker when it comes to the daily Facebook memories.  I love looking back on things that had happened on that day remembering the good times (and sometime the bad) and sometimes seeing things that I had totally forgotten about and glad to have had my memory jogged.

So each year, I like to do something new with my son to remember that year.  This year, we made a wooden Christmas tree to match one we had won at an event as his school the previous year.  I always make sure I put a year on it, if it doesn’t already have it, so I can look back and remember how old my son was when we did that.

Memories tree

This year my son didn’t seem to want to put some of his homemade decorations on the tree (especially ones from when he was really young).  I think he’s at that age where he wants to be “older” than he really is and baby things aren’t “cool” right now.  As hard as it is for me, I let him take charge of decorating the tree as he wished.  Again, making some memories.  I just made sure the decorations were probably and safely packed away to be taken out and hopefully used next year.  At least I will have them for future use.

One of the things I wish I had done was make imprint ornaments of my son’s hands and/or feet each year to see how much he’d grown.  I know I would get to a point that he would be too big (like now) but it’s something I wish I had done.  I saw the imprint packages by Pearhead at BuyBuy Baby the other day and it kind of made me kick myself for not having these for my son.  These particular ones are no mixing or baking and simple to use.  There is no reason not to have them for your little ones. These make the cutest ornaments and the perfect memories year after year.

sparkle memories

babyprint memories

Do you have things that you do year after year to make special holiday memories?  Are their things that you wish you had started earlier or done at all with your children that you haven’t?

Here is your chance to make more holiday memories.  Head over to the A Boy and His Mom Facebook page and you can enter to win a $100 gift card to BuyBuy Baby, thanks to BuyBuy Baby Whitby location.  All you need to do  is upload a photo of your Pearhead baby ornament (available at BuyBuy Baby) that you have made for your child and like the post and you are entered.  Contest open to residents of Canada only and ends on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at  11:59 PM EST.  Winner will be chosen by random draw.  This draw is not affiliated with Facebook or Instagram.