Dr. Sara’s Christmas request

Today is Christmas Eve day. I will spend the morning in clinic, seeing patients. By early afternoon, I will be home and getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner and mass. We will attempt to get our children, 4 and 6 years old, to bed at a reasonable hour. It won’t be easy. Christmas at this age is seriously magical. My children believe in Christmas and Santa and reindeer and elves with every ounce of their being right now. It is glorious, and they will be wild tonight, I am sure.

Interestingly, this is the first year since having children that I feel no pressure to complete a self-imposed “To Do” list. I did cards because I wanted to. I am hosting dinner because I wanted to. I shopped and mailed and decorated because I wanted to.  It’s a bit strange because when my first baby was born, I felt I had to do so much. That it was up to me and me alone (I thought) to make sure the holidays were magical. My to-do list was an albatross, and I was stressed.

Now that they are a bit older (and perhaps because I am better rested), I know the holidays are magical of their own accord. Listening to Christmas music is magical to them. Seeing Santa at the mall is magical. Very little of their magic is truly dependent on my orchestration of the holidays. It’s very liberating.

I’ve also realized that too much is just overwhelming for children. Toddlers don’t need to cookie bake, gingerbread house build, carol, wrap presents, attend parties, and on and on. One or two simple, short activities are enough. Being with me is enough. Listening to music and playing is enough. I’ve also learned to follow their cues better. Whining and tantrums mean we need to slow down and return to the comfort of routine, even if it means missing the Santa parade.

So today I will toss the holiday to-do list in the trash. Most got done, some didn’t. I won’t worry that my holiday table doesn’t look like Pinterest or fear a toddler meltdown in church. My kids will be great, and if they aren’t, oh well. My goal is to lose myself in the magic they see and to really enjoy these few days counting my blessings. I will have a messy house and happy kids, and I wish the same for all of our Bundoo family. Happy Holidays from me to you. I wish you all love and good health.

P.S. If you do find yourself with a feverish toddler today or tomorrow, call your pediatrician. They are still there for you!

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About Dr. Sara Connolly, Board Certified Pediatrician

Sara Connolly, MD, FAAP, is a Board Certified Pediatrician who practices in Palm Beach County, Florida. She completed her residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she served as Chief Resident. She has a passion for child advocacy and has worked on the local, state, and national level to increase access to care for children. Her interests include nutrition, breastfeeding, and parenting skills.


  1. I agree that the holidays are often overwhelming and most of the time ‘less is more.” Just spending time together as a family is more meaningful than going to every parade or Santa appearance in town. P.S. My child was one of those feverish toddlers on Christmas morning. I felt so guilty calling my pediatrician. Your last sentence just made me feel much better-lol!

  2. Yes, I agree! I don’t understand why so many schools push toddlers to do the secret santa, the gingerbread houses, the holiday play, the Christmas party etc – WAY too much overload and in the end the parents are exhausted and the kids lose much-needed consistency. So much better to just do what is right for your family and relax!

  3. “Very little of their magic is truly dependent on my orchestration of the holidays.” What a true statement that is.


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