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Christmas Pajamas 2020 Fail

Christmas Pajamas 2020 Fail | Megan Nielsen Blog

I was sitting down to share the Christmas Pajamas that I made my kids this past Christmas (2021), when I realised it was kind of hard to write about without talking about the fact that I had intended to make them for Christmas 2020. My Christmas Pajamas tradition was a massive fail for 2020, and to be honest there were a lot of tears… from me. So today’s story is about how I failed to make my kids Christmas pajamas, and how it was actually ok and I think I learnt a valuable lesson about putting too much pressure on myself and too much stock in tradition. Let’s chat!

Christmas Pajamas 2020 - how I failed to make my kids Christmas pajamas but it was actually ok | Megan Nielsen Blog

Making my kids matching Christmas pajamas each year is a really important tradition to me. It’s something I love doing each year, and something my kids look forward to when on Christmas Eve they get to wear them for the first time. It started way back in 2012 when Bunny and Buddy were just toddlers , and ironically was a massive fail that first year too. Ah, the foreshadowing ;) Since then I’ve made them matching Christmas pajamas each year and it’s become important to me. And if i’m honest – way too important to me.

Christmas Pajamas 2020 Fail - the story of unnecessary pressure and obsessive tradition | Megan Nielsen Blog

I felt so organised at the beginning of 2020. Ellie Whittaker and Nerida Hansen released a special collaborative fabric line with May Gibbs estate and as soon as I saw the fabrics I knew they were destined to be Christmas Pajamas. Gumnut Babies are iconic here in Australia, and there was a particular print full of Aussie animals and Gumnut Babies hanging out together that just made my heart sing. So i ordered my fabric immediately, prewashed it and cut out everyone’s pajamas. I was feeling excited because i had fabric to spare and Chris was sounding like he might be keen to have matching Pajamas too. And I had almost a whole year to sew them! I was feeling pumped and organised and nothing could stop me from Christmas Pajama success!

Christmas Pajamas 2020 Fail - the story of unnecessary pressure and obsessive tradition | Megan Nielsen Blog

Then Covid happened, and my world (like everyone else’s) was turned upside down. Running a business during a pandemic, home schooling my kids during lock downs, and being a high risk person from a health perspective was honestly too much to bear, and when Christmas rolled around I hadn’t had a minute all year to sew up the pajamas. I felt like such a failure. It had been a rough year and it was about the millionth time that year I had felt that way. It was the straw that broke the camels back. I dreaded telling the kids. I cried a lot and was honestly just crushed that I had failed at this relatively small task that was so big and important to me. But Chris, ever the calm breeze, saved the day and reminded me that my life would go on if I broke my self imposed tradition, and that I had made the kids many many pajamas over the years, and so wearing matching Christmas pajamas didn’t need to mean that they had to be brand new. So I put aside all the pieces i’d cut out for the next Christmas and we regrouped.

Christmas Pajamas 2020 Fail - the story of unnecessary pressure and obsessive tradition | Megan Nielsen Blog

Chris pulled out all the Ellie Whittaker Seabirds pieces I’d made the kids over the years. I had previously made Bunny and Birdie matching Seabirds dresses, which Bunny preferred as a nightie and as soon as Birdie saw her do that she decided it was a nightie too. That same year I made Buddy’s Christmas pj’s using the seabirds fabric and miraculously, the shorts still fit… only just. He paired it with a blue tee and just like that my kids were wearing matching Christmas pajamas that I had made. They were a little on the small side, it wasn’t what I had planned in my head – and yet, everyone was happy. No one’s Christmas was ruined. The world continued to turn and everyone had a lovely Christmas.

Christmas Pajamas 2020 Fail | Megan Nielsen Blog

As much as that tradition felt like everything to me, it took failing for me to realise that it wasn’t actually important. I learnt a valuable lesson about the unnecessary pressure I put on myself. I love making things for my family, and traditions are fun, but they should be just that – fun. Otherwise you just lose sight of what you’re actually doing and it robs the joy from life and this beautiful craft that we all love doing. At the end of the day, we were together sharing a special day, and that’s actually all that mattered.

I wanted to share this today because I just wanted you to know that it’s ok if you can’t do everything. It’s ok to “fail”. Maybe you’re like me and put unnecessary pressure on yourself to do everything. To make and maintain special traditions. The sew all the things. To never let let anyone down. But it’s ok if sometimes you drop things that felt important. It’s ok if you want to sew everything and you just can’t get it done. It’s ok if you make big plans that just don’t work out.

You’re not alone :) And maybe just like me, the world will still keep turning if you drop a few things and don’t kick all the goals and don’t smash your to do list and can’t do everything for everyone. You are here – and you did your best, and that’s good enough.

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Sally
Sally
8 months ago

Thank you! I needed to hear this and I appreciate your honesty. It’s gonna be a good year!

Rosie
Rosie
8 months ago

Oh Meg, I’m sitting here in tears reading this while waiting for ANOTHER birthday cake to come out of the oven (because the first one sank), work has been kicked to the kerb this morning. My youngest has her second covid birthday today, so no party etc etc etc. I’ve been up all night finishing the present I made her and making decorations to try and make the house look festive post-Christmas. I’m wrecked. Why do we put this pressure on ourselves.

Saskia
Saskia
8 months ago

Thank you! Your message is felt all the way in Belgium …

cate smart
cate smart
8 months ago

Megan, good for you!! Holidays mean so much and I personally have this idea that i have to do it all, and i can’t; broke my knee this fall so holidays had to be pared down quite a bit. But truthfully I never get it all done. Every year there are so many ideas or traditions i want to start or continue and some just don’t make the cut. Someone once told me about going to college–you can make good grades, have fun, get enough sleep–PICK TWO. That little word has stuck with me. My kids are grown now and as much as I want to do it all, I just never can, ever! I think what our families will remember are the cool things about each year…. like the one year we got a charlie brown looking tree, or the year we went to LLBean on Christmas, or the game we played via Zoom during Covid19. You already do so much, and for us to cut back and rest a bit, or enjoy the paring back although it may not feel necessary, it has a beauty of it’s own and will be remembered ;-). Thanks for putting yourself out there and revealing part of you. You are a brave person. You have a lovely family! Best to you,
Cate S.

Anne Daniel
Anne Daniel
8 months ago

This ranks with me as one of the best Christmas blogs ever written. All our families want is for us to be happy and relaxed and a with them. Matching pyjamas wasn’t a thing when I was young. Having pyjamas was sufficient in those post war days when rationing still dictated what could and couldn’t be bought in Britain.

Alexandra
8 months ago

Great post and yes we put too much stock on the to do list. When kids just want to spend time with us.