Big holiday decorTwo weeks ago my stomach tightened when I saw huge red bows and oversized decorations at a local strip mall.

November is about to end, and like it or not, I’m about to be launched into “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” [Insert melody]

I’m pretty sure I join about half of the adult population who have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. Why? Because Christmas offers us its own special category of mommy-guilt, or rather, mommy-shame.

Guilt is “I did something bad.” Shame is “I am something bad.” I think Santa and his list of “bad kids” and “good kids” might have traumatized us, because we work really hard not to feel like “bad moms” at Christmas.

We try to make Christmas special, beautiful, and meaningful for our kids. We try hard to make all of our parents, adult siblings, and in-laws happy. We work hard at thinking of gifts we can feel good about giving without expending all of our physical, financial, and emotional resources dreaming them up, shopping for them, or making them by hand.

Shame researcher Brene’ Brown says, “For women, shame is ‘do it all, do it perfectly, and never let ’em see you sweat.'”

What if we decided to go crazy and make this a shame-free Christmas?

What if we stood in solidarity together and shouted from the mountain top, “We will stop ‘should-ing on ourselves!'” And instead, offered ourselves generous amounts of freedom, love, and grace.

If you decided to embrace a shame-free Christmas, how might that look for you?