The Spirit of the Holidays

Child dreaming of christmas bedding

In Defense Of Christmas Bedding & Being Totally Extra This Holiday Season

Just settle down for a long winter’s nap... but do it in reindeer sheets.

Every year, there’s an outcry of “Can’t we all just simplify the holiday season!” and you know what, I get it. Being “extra” has become a bit of a faux pas. Parents don’t want any more weeks of spirit days at school; they don’t want baseball conditioning camps for 5-year-olds; and they definitely do not want to hear about your Elf on the Shelf plans. I get it! However, just because we’re burned out on some things, doesn’t mean it’s not fun — and dare I say, actually rejuvenating — to go all in on some other things. For me, that’s the holidays. So this year, I’m ignoring all the complaints and too-cool-for-school memes about it being “too early” to get into the festive spirit. And in defense of team “Do Whatever Makes You Happy,” this year, I’m finally buying all the Christmas bedding I can.

Look, when you’re little, the Christmas season feels like it takes forever. I could’ve sworn that my math worksheets all involved counting Santa’s reindeer and candy canes for weeks, when in reality, it was probably just 10 days or so of Christmas joy packed in. The season felt unlimited — we could watch all the Christmas movies, read all the Christmas books. I could draft list after list of toys I wanted from Santa and still have time to flip through the big JCPenney Christmas Book. (I used to sleep with it open to this page, featuring the talking dollhouse I was desperate for.) My grandparents had an amazing outdoor Christmas display full of blow-molds and a nativity scene with a real wooden manger my uncle built, and I spent so many hours running between the 12 little drummer boys and talking to the carolers and pretending I was on a quest through the giant candy canes that lined their driveway.

Christmas wasn’t just a day to hurtle toward. It was a season. An actual feeling deep inside of me like every Who down in Whoville who liked Christmas a lot. It was a legit vibe shift. And that’s why I think that Christmas bedding, no matter how extra you deem it, no matter how unnecessary of a product you think it is, is worth it.

I fully admit that two grown adults sleeping under a blanket stitched with eight reindeer is extra.

It started with my Granny Jo, as most of my holiday traditions did. (See: literally 12 blow-mold light-up drummers drumming taking over part of her yard in a straight row.) A few years ago, she spent weeks and weeks creating a gift for me that she knew I’d love, but would’ve never bought myself: a Christmas quilt. And I don’t mean like a green-and-red throw blanket or something to drape on the back of the couch for Hallmark movie marathons. I mean an actual king-sized Christmas quilt with vintage Santa Claus fabric and poinsettia patterns on the edges.

Granny Jo’s quilt on the pull-out sofa bed by our Christmas tree. Perfect for holiday movie nights.Samantha Darby

That year, I immediately put it on mine and my husband’s bed. And it is… extra. I fully admit that two grown adults sleeping under a blanket stitched with eight reindeer is extra. Even better is when we put on our own matching Christmas pajamas and snuggle under it together to watch Home Alone. Or when I pull it off the bed to use on our downstairs sofa bed for movie night with our three daughters. Or when we spread it out on the floor in the family room and read Christmas stories and eat popcorn.

And now, I can’t stop. This year, I got Christmas sheets from Target to go with our Christmas quilt on our bed. (They come in both cotton and flannel, which is good because my hot-natured husband was never going to agree on flannel sheets.) And I decided to buy Christmas sheets for my daughters’ beds — something that I used to think was just another silly expense that takes up room in the linen closet. And maybe it is? But it’s also pure joy for me.

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My two older girls share a room, and I decided one would get Rudolph sheets and the other would get Grinch sheets. And then I also needed a matching set of snowflake sheets for each of them, because you really don’t think we can get through all of December without an extra set of Christmas sheets, do you? And my third baby girl — the one still in a crib and named Clara? Oh yeah, I absolutely ordered myself some Nutcracker-themed fabric because I couldn’t find a crib sheet I liked, and I have big plans to sew with my Granny the weekend before Thanksgiving and get everyone’s bedding ready.

Like an advent calendar or a snowman-shaped waffle maker or tiny marshmallows to drop into hot chocolate in the morning, Christmas bedding isn’t something you’re expected to have as a parent. It isn’t meant to feel like one. more. thing. to worry about. In a world full of influencers sharing their must-haves for the season (swipe up for an affiliate link!) and Instagram ads perfectly curating thousands of dollars worth of stuff you never thought of buying before but now can’t live without, it’s easy to let yourself get overwhelmed by all the things you could buy for the Christmas season.

Maybe it’s not Christmas bedding for you. Maybe it’s Christmas mugs to drink your coffee out of. Maybe it’s lighting red and green candles at dinner every night. Maybe it’s swapping the basket of books for Christmas stories and putting a pair of Christmas-themed socks right in the middle of your kid’s dresser drawer for them to choose on a random weekday in December.

But for me and my girls, for me and my husband, even after a long, exhausting day of soccer practice and homework, of rushing across town to make it to tumbling class, of tantrums and spit-up and dog hair whirling about our feet like tumbleweeds, there is this spark of Christmas joy at bedtime. There is turning down the covers and smoothing out the flannel pillowcases. There is tucking in our girls, pulling Rudolph sheets up under their chin, singing “Deck the Halls” every night as my husband and I climb into our own “Fa la la la la” sheets.

There is magic.