My Christmas Eve Meltdown

Well, friends! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! We actually had a very sweet time together as a family, well…..on Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve was quite a different story.

Let’s just say that I was not a good wife or mom on Christmas Eve day.

That morning, I thought I had my “stuff” together. I had my list of last-minute things I needed to get at the store and things I needed to get done at home. I thought I was okay, but my day quickly started to unravel. There were things I forgot to put on my list, and things on my to-do list that I didn’t have time to complete. As I finished up wrapping, I realized I had bought the wrong sizes and my gifts to my kids didn’t feel “even.”

You know what I mean. I was trying to have about the same amount of gifts for each of my kids with about the same value, but I realized that somehow one of my kid’s stocking only had one item, and he had fewer boxes to open than the others. I started to panic.

I began to suffer from the “Snow Globe Effect.” It’s when I want everything to turn out perfectly and look just right and beautiful, like a snow globe always does. Like a Norman Rockwell painting… Like a Hallmark movie….

and it wasn’t happening.

My presents weren’t all wrapped. My food took longer to fix that I thought it would. I fell down the steps in our garage. I broke ornaments. And my attitude….oh, my attitude. It. was. awful.

I was grumpy. Ignoring the kids. Mad at Cy for who knows what?!

Sania came up to hug me and said, “Isn’t Christmas the best day ever?!”

Do you know what my response was?

“Yeah, for kids. Not for adults.” and I walked off. Yes, I did.

I think it was at that point that I went into the kitchen to cry. Crying because nothing was going right and crying because I felt like the worst mother in the entire universe. I wanted to be dancing around the kitchen singing Christmas carols with a smile on my face, but it was not happening. I couldn’t shake it.

By the time we made it to my dad’s that night for the Christmas Eve party, I was an hour late, with food that no one was hungry for because they had already eaten, and I actually forgot my nephew’s gift. I cried more.

You guys, it was so out of character for me. I usually can handle all kinds of pressure, or if I can’t handle all the things, I can usually laugh about it.

But not that night. I was beating myself up something awful, and my poor husband had to witness the said “meltdown” in the bathroom. I didn’t want to go in the family room because I knew that everyone would ask what was wrong, and I would start crying again. I couldn’t even hug my precious dad because I knew I would lose it. I was barely hanging on. (I’m sorry, Dad.)

I tried to put my makeup back on, but that was a joke. I finally made it back into the family room to watch the kids open their presents, but my heart was so tired from all the work and worry that I had done that day.

I swore to Cy… NEVER AGAIN. I will never be that big of a mess on Christmas again.

Thankfully, my kiddos still had a great time that night! ha!

When we got home, the kids went to bed, and Cy stayed up with me and helped me get the presents under the tree. I went to sleep with a heavy heart, but I had gathered my head together enough to make sure that I was a different mom in the morning.

I asked for the Lord’s forgiveness. I prayed for His peace and asked Him to help me change my attitude. I needed to let go of my snow globe and roll with the punches. :)

Christmas morning was precious and priceless.

My kiddos loved their gifts and were so grateful for each one.

We had breakfast together, and I was even able to rest some that afternoon before going to my sister’s for Christmas dinner.


I shared my Christmas Eve meltdown on my Instagram stories today, and it seems I’m not the only mom that struggles with the “snow globe effect” around Christmas. We all want things to be so perfect for our kids on this special day, but we also yearn for things to be more simple and less stressful.

That is going to be my goal next Christmas. I am a perfectionist and a procrastinator, which is NOT a good combo. So I am going to try and let go and not have everything be perfect, and Cy promised me that he would help me plan ahead and not procrastinate, ’cause I will certainly need help in that area!

Why am I sharing this? I’m not sure actually? haha!

No, it’s because I want you to know that I do NOT have my stuff together all the time. And I am NOT always the mom I wish I could be. And I make mistakes DAILY.

But I also want you to know that I am FORGIVEN by God. That He loves me (and you,) even when we mess up. Even on our worst days.

And that there is NOTHING that compares to the Peace and Grace of Jesus Christ.



  1. I’m not even a “real” mom, – I’m step to an adult daughter and her brood- and don’t have kids under my roof who expect magic only mom and dad can provide, but your post (with all of its pure honesty) made me cry real tears! I think we, as women especially, put so much pressure on ourselves to make miracles happen for those we love. I fail everyday, yet I am lucky enough to be surrounded by those who love me, warts and all. You are too, beyond anyone’s imagination! Be kinder to yourself this coming year. What you do and how you express it makes magic for me every time I read your blog. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Mary! I know that I am too hard on myself. I always have been, and my hubby gets frustrated with me. Your comment is so kind, and you are so sweet to encourage me! Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to write it! God bless you this new year! xoxo

    2. Thank you all for your remarks. I don’t have children of my own and I feel very lonely around the holidays. I’m a step-mom to an adult woman and her kids. The pressure we put on ourselves is extremely stressful. I’m always trying to wrap the most beautiful gifts, decorate with items on trend, including items my hubs and I make (for resale), host my family, etc. It’s a stressful time of year and it’s good to know that all the build-up and stress isn’t just me…we all feel it. So glad you were free to share your story with us. <3 thank you <3 thank you!

  2. Traci, Thank you so much for your openness. You keep it real and I love you for it. I have had many days like this (not just Christmas) because of that perfectionist tendency in me. I generally don’t procrastinate often but when I do, that combo is a recipe for disaster. There have been a few things creeping up in our life recently (job-wise, especially) that is making me have to say “let go and let God”. So, I truly appreciate your post and reminder that God is forgiving, even when I need that nudge(too often) to give it to Him, it’s not mine to fix.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Angie! I think we all need reminders sometimes, and I definitely got mine on Christmas Eve! haha! I’m going to be more intentional next year for sure! God bless and happy new year!

  3. Girl we’ve all been there. I find the less I plan and stress the better it goes. Not so easy for a planner and perfectionist like myself. You gotta try to let go, do your best, and have faith.

  4. Aw😢. I also make sure the gifting is done evenly, I buy for seven loved ones. Can I share my new method? Each person has the same wrapping paper. I can usually get a head start on the wrapping process, and can quickly see where I’m at. (Although still counting over and over;) but at a glance! The stockings are kept in separate paper grocery bags, usually until the day or two before. Also giving a quick glance before those get tissued and stuffed.
    Boy oh boy I felt so much more at ease with the math😘
    Have a wonderful new year! I love your stories:))

    1. Great advice! Thank you for sharing, Julie! I’m going to try the gift wrapping paper idea next year for sure. I almost started that this year and didn’t. Wish I had. :(
      Happy New year!

  5. Traci~
    I read about your meltdown and I can relate in a big way. You are so right that we mother’s want everything so perfect for our families…but what we fail to realize when we’re in the process of rushing around, is that it’s about spending the time with those whom we love! It reminds me of a song by Amy Grant called “I Need A Silent Night” You should listen to it sometime.
    The past few years, I have tried my best to simplify Christmas…because I want to enjoy this wonderful season along with the rest of my family. I do not send out Christmas cards, make cookies, buy all kinds of presents…in fact, the whole commercialism makes me sick to my stomach!! (Don’t get me wrong, we still have cookies, but I leave it to our wonderful bakery to make them.)
    Do your best to simplify Christmas. Your family will be go grateful to have YOU!!
    God Bless You!!

    1. I hear ya, Hope! The commercialism makes me sick to my stomach too. My heart YEARNS to simplify things, and I am praying desperately for the Lord to help me change my focus next year! For my sake, and for my kiddos! Thank you for sharing! xoxo

  6. I’m sorry it was so hard, and we have all been there. Thank you for sharing the real part of life. It helps to talk about it. My Christmas Eve didn’t go as planned either during the day, then my neighbors shot off fireworks and played loud music till 2 am. After being up pretty much all night Christmas Day was exhausting. There was no Silent Night here.
    Praying your new year will be off to a good start. Mine will definitely be noisy.

  7. As we say in the south “imma pray for ya”.. I get it, I really do, and it can be the ruin of a good day, week, month, etc. if you let it fester. So glad you were able to shake it off and enjoy Christmas. I think we get too wrapped up in how it should be rather than enjoy what is.
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  8. Thanks for being so real and honest! Even though my sons are grown men, I still find myself seeking that “Perfection” to create the most beautiful Christmas for everyone. As if it were all up to me. It’s taken me years to figure out its NOT. I’m gentler with myself today and have relaxed expectations and have learned to ask for help with family dinners, etc. the biggest thing is focusing more on the true meaning of Jesus and less on the getting and more on the giving to others. As Jesus did. The spirit of the season shines so much brighter now that I’m focusing more on the experiences and relationships during Christmas. Simple is so much better.

    1. Yep! I agree 100% Judy! I am going to pray and work on shifting my focus more next year. I always try to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but I need to do a better job at focusing on giving instead of getting. Thank you for sharing your heart! xoxo

  9. I also have the “snow globe effect”, T! And I hate it so much at times because I end up hurting the ones who love me the most. Your post so resonated with me, and yesterday when you talked about it in your IGstories. I am sorry you had a bad day. SEnding you 🤗 .

    1. Thank you, Nidia! Yes, I hated hurting the ones I love the most. Thankfully, they love me and forgive me when I lose it. So thankful for GRACE! xoxo

  10. Oh Tracey I can relate, we were shopping and I just couldn’t figure out what to get my boys too! We have three sons and we have always got even amount or value. Now that they are older it’s even harder! I was just so grumpy and my cheese dip, I make every year turned out too thick and gross!, But at the end my sons thanked us over and over for their gifts, I fretted over nothing making myself miserable! I learned and next year will be different! Thanks for sharing your “Meltdown” You were not alone! Lol

    1. Yes, my boys were so grateful too. Which made me want to smack myself for worrying about it so much! I definitely stressed myself out over nothing. Next year, I will do better! God bless you and Happy New Year!

  11. Thank you for this! I get this feeling almost every year. It was better this year. It really took a concerted effort on my part not to lose it. Thanks for showing it is okay to feel this way and to ask for forgiveness and move on.

  12. Thank you for being so authentic!!! I think all moms have experienced this snow globe affect at one time or another…..and for me multiple times. But you are right! God forgives and teaches us and we will do better the next time …with His help. We are thankful for do-overs and the new year is a perfect time to do just that! Happy New Year!

  13. Tracie, thank God you are human!!! My Christmas day was supposed to be laid back with just one friend over to veg out with. The meal was planned with just our palates considered. My son was off with his girlfriend doing her big family stuff. My grandson was at his mother’s and not due back until late afternoon the day after Christmas. About noon Christmas day I find out my grandson will be home in a few hours … nothing for anyone is wrapped because that was going to be a leisurely Christmas afternoon project. So … wrapping for adults’ gifts became layering in a big bag with everything separated by tissue paper. Grandson’s gifts got wrapped in last year’s paper with no ribbons. My son came home early from the other festivities to be with his son. Those who didn’t like the meal plan found a way not to starve. EVERYONE WAS HAPPY!!! So, along with you, I say there are times perfection is overrated and I’m not going to let perceived (mine) imperfection steal my joy! Here’s to us!!🥂

  14. We’ve all been there and yearn for a more simple, less expectations , and enjoyable holiday season. Praise to our Lord for forgiveness and understanding of us moms losing our way during Christmas.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!!

  15. Hi Traci, thank you for sharing. Ugh, I’ve been there! I pray you have released yourself from all guilt over your Christmas Eve. Thank goodness God understands us and loves us even at our worst. I can totally relate to the bad combo of procrastination & “high expectations” (I won’t say perfectionism, cuz I let go of that awhile ago)….even when I plan things out, I still can underestimate how much time things take, how tired I get, and just plain try to do too much. Honestly, when I think about it, I’m the only one expecting so much of myself, everyone else is just looking forward to being together, and I need to remind myself that is what it’s all about. Heck, I always make too much food, and wear myself out doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to serve people and hospitality is my gifting. But when it overrides actually getting to enjoy people, I think that’s where something good can actually not be serving us. The best thing is….we can change. God’s mercies are new each day. Blessings to you and your family! Happy New Year!

    1. Yes! No one is expecting as much from us as we expect from ourselves. #ugh! Why do we do that! I’ve got to make more realistic expectations for myself! And yes, praise the Lord we can change! So thankful for His new mercies each day! God bless you and Happy New year!

  16. What a gift you give to us readers, to be able to see your vulnerable confession. Sometimes I feel like such a disaster as a wife and mom, and even as a Christian. This was a hard Christmas, as we had two deaths since August, we’re possibly soon going to be homeless, and our mothly payment to our business didn’t come. I had no money for gifts and definitely no Christmas spirit. But then we pared back mentally on our expectations and we had a lovely, quiet day. Thank you for sharing your heart!!

    1. Oh, BJ, I am so very sorry for your losses. I actually worried that sharing my meltdown might make me sound superficial because I know there are so many worse things that I could worry or stress about besides “Christmas perfection.” I don’t ever want to seem ungrateful for the blessings the Lord has given me. I am touched by your sweet spirit and how your were able to still have a blessed Christmas Day despite your circumstances. You are a blessing to me! xoxo

  17. Hi Traci,
    Thanks for sharing about your meltdown. I was not a happy wife or step-mom to my ‘new’ family. Nothing felt right or familiar. I felt like an outsider. Funny (not ha-ha) how holidays can bring out all these feelings.
    Praying that I can get it together for next year.

    1. Aw, Viv! I know that transitions like that can be difficult. When my dad remarried a few years after my mom passed away, it was definitely an adjustment, but it will get better. And yes, the holidays can bring out feelings that we are usually able to move past. God bless you in this new year!

  18. Traci, I am so sorry about your meltdown on Christmas Eve. While I do not have children, I used to be a perfectionist to the extent that it would impact my disposition way too often. I finally realized that Jesus does not expect us to be perfect, but He does want us to enjoy our earthly blessings, and to do our best to always put Him first. I bet your husband and children don’t expect you to be perfect, and I suspect they sure hope that you don’t expect them to be perfect. I’m glad that y’all enjoyed Christmas Day and celebrating the birth of Jesus. God bless you a,d peace be with you!

    1. Thank you, Ginger! My problem is that I am a procrastinating perfectionist. Not a good combo! Next year, I need to plan ahead more to avoid my meltdown. Plus, I am going to simplify. I definitely want to honor Christ during this season. :)

  19. You are definitely not the only one to have melt downs at this time of year. The hardest part is that we, MOMs are the worst at putting the pressure on ourselves to do it all, and perfectly. I too try to be a perfectionist and procrastinate so I know exactly how you felt. I wish you the best for next year. Happy New Year.

    1. Thank you, Alaina! I know I put too much pressure on myself, and I need to get better at that. May need to make that a goal in this new year! :). Blessings,Traci

  20. It can be so hard to try to meet the expectations of the ‘perfect Christmas’. My niece heard this somewhere, and this is what she started doing for her children: they each get 4 gifts for Christmas: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. It simplified her life SO much, and took a lot of the emphasis off of just gifts, and put it back on more important things (like being together as a family). {{Hugs}} from the Texas hill country for an awesome 2019!

  21. Amen! Although mine was for my husband! I had all three of my kiddos covered, Aunts, Uncles, nieces, nephews…everyone, but My Husband! I was so busy making sure everything was perfect for everyone on the “outside” of the family, I thought on Christmas eve, “Oh No! What did I get Thom? I got him something….what was it?? Oh, no! Did I get anything for His stocking???” That evening as I set out the gifts, he did have plenty. I shopped with the kiddos, so their names were on his gifts in the “From” slot, but the presents were from us all :) Christmas was a beautiful day, but remembering that there is more to life then “stuff” is important to know as well. It is who is with us around the tree, rather then what is under the tree, that’s important :) Blessings to you and your family in 2019!

  22. I kind of had to laugh. I had the worst time this year ever. Christmas eve is our big time and I over cooked the roast. My son-in-law cooked the ham so it was delicious. I too, didn’t have even gifts but I think the stockings were good. My kids are old, LOL! But I still do an even amount of gifts and money (kind of). I couldn’t get decorated and when I baked cookies, I didn’t have all the ingredients for the 1st batch so I got the next recipe and didn’t have the ingredients for that one either. I thought I’d make the fudge which I had in the pan when my granddaughter came in and I forgot to time it. It turned out soft as mush. On and on, nothing was wrapped and I just wanted someone to shoot me. I’m still recuperating. God help me next year, I’m 77.

  23. I think that everyone who has children has probably thought that Christmas is great for kids, but not so much for adults! I’ve probably said that out loud a time or two myself, lol! I’ve tried to simplify things little by little over the last few years, and I don’t think that anyone misses all the extra stuff we used to do, but I sure feel a lot less stressed. Of course, it helps a lot that my youngest is 18 now, and my other three are grown and out of the house. The best thing we’ve done is draw names once among our extended family and once in our immediate family. with the rule to buy gifts that are useful and unusual for around $25 each. Once the kids are old enough to buy gifts for everyone, they come to appreciate drawing names a lot!

  24. Been there and have done all that!!! Our Christmas dinner was just yesterday when all the family was able to be here and I must say I was pretty together and prepared (or so I thought). However, when a call came that one of the families was sick and couldn’t come and a few other mishaps, I kind of lost it – mostly with disappointment. But this morning when my son came upstairs and gave me a loving hug and thanked me for all my work of preparation, I forgot everything else and moved out to church. Our pastor spoke of Christmas miracles and reminded us that although much of what we witness in movies etc. is credited to Santa Claus, as Christians we believe that miracles come from God!!

  25. I have been there myself!! I had a total meltdown Christmas Eve 2017!!! I felt awful but I did attend my sister and her family’s dinner!! Thank God He forgives us!! I am glad you realize not to be so hard on yourself!!! You have children who love you and that’s what matters ( not having the even amount of gifts as each sibling)! Wishing you, your husband and children lots of joy,love, good health and peace in 2019!🙏💕😊

  26. Thank you from a mom that has felt like you more times than not! Thank you making me feel like I am not alone. I sometimes feel like I am not enough but that is what I am changing in the new year. No comparisons to others – I am ENOUGH as are you.
    Thank you and Happy Happy New Year!

  27. Thanks for sharing your not so perfect part of Christmas. We can all relate to that.
    May God bless you and your family in 2019.

  28. Thank you sooooo much for sharing this. I’m just now reading it and to tell you the truth, I hesitated to open it, as I always think of you as doing everyone “PERFECT”……as in everything. So, its hard for me not to compare myself and fall short. I think that happens a lot when we only see the good days bloggers post. Thanks for being so real. I had a very similar Christmas Eve and Day with lots of tears and my adult kids and spouses witnessing. I suffer from daily migraines and was put on new medicine Dec. 8th that I can’t get us to and my emotions, pain etc. was bad and to feel I was missing Christmas this year with my family while they were here was sooooooo hard. I know God was in it, but sooooo hard. I was blessed to have my girls bring the food and all the kids cook throughout the days. I had to just try to get my mind(on new meds) go to the GRATEFUL. Again, thank you for sharing your experience and I’m still beating myself up for not giving my kids the Perfect Christmas we all strive for and shouldn’t. Its not about us, its about our Lord and Savior and being with family. Your pictures of your family were precious. Happy New Year.

  29. You are not alone. It is so hard for me to balance the expectations and the magic of Christmas with the reality of getting it all done and with a smile on our face. I, too, plan to make changes next year. One goal is to be done shopping by the first part of December as I was also at the store on Christmas Eve making things ‘even’ between the kids and I was up very late wrapping. Thank you for sharing and for your vulnerability. Just two of the reasons I love following your blog and your Instagram. Keep doing you – we love you for it.

  30. Oh gees! You are SOOO not alone! As soon as the Thanksgiving turkey has cooled my mood changes and I start to get stressed. The kids start playing Christmas music and chattering about, “Isn’t it great that Grandma will be here in xyz days!” And I fake a smile and try to figure out how to juggle three months of TO DO tasks in three weeks. There is a LOT about Christmas that can be stressful and mental health can be a tough one at the holidays, especially for those that struggle with other mental health issues. (speaking for myself) I finally made a hard, concerted effort to try to act joyful for my kids, no matter what I’m dealing with in my head. (fake it til ya make it!) Hubs and I had a long, hard talk about how hard the holidays are for me and getting him on board was probably the best medicine! We’ve come up with a written form, what the kids are getting from Santa, from us, from Grandma, what equals what. You can talk at me until I’m blue, but until I see it my brain doesn’t process it. Having the form to literally check off makes a HUGE difference for my brain! We’re still up almost all night Xmas eve finishing everything. Add to it that this year all the adults got the flue and one of our cats spent 5 days at the vet with a urinary blockage. Every year I struggle and every year I survive. Thank God HE is the reason for the season and I’m so thankful our kids are so content and happy.

    Now I’m shifting to stressing about taxes and the entire year of filing and receipts I get to dive into…..

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