SAVE YOURSELF FROM THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE PERECT CHRISTMAS!
I spent years swept up in the quest for the perfect holiday—you know, the ones that are so brilliantly illustrated in commercials and those usually cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies.
HERE ARE THE THINGS I YEARNED FOR:
a sparkling clean abode, decorated like the cover of a magazine; the sweet scent of cinnamon and baking, mixed with evergreen tree, wafting through the house; delectable home-cooked holiday meals; beautifully wrapped presents; and our family participating in fun traditions (think tree trimming, and cookie baking). I dreamed of evenings in front of the fire, a glass of wine in hand, admiring all of my work and Christmas spirit.
I really thought we could achieve this kind of perfection, even though my husband and I worked full-time, two of our kids have December birthdays, the extracurricular activities for three kids couldn‘t fit on a calendar square, and almost all of our must-attend holiday gatherings were held out of town.
I was wrong. Instead of that perfection I hoped for, our celebrations often included kids in meltdown mode (usually in public), broken ornaments, burnt cookies, fights with my husband, gifts tossed into bags at the last minute, kids showing up for their school concerts in the wrong costumes and me—spending the entire month of December stressed out and scrambling to meet everyone’s needs.
MY CHRISTMAS SPIRIT WAS FAR FROM JOYFUL.
I wasn’t festive. I was tired, resentful, overwhelmed. And I felt this way until it hit me: I had to give up this crazy quest for perfection. I realized I was so busy trying to make memories that I either missed out on them or created me-crying-in-the-bathroom-while-my-family-wondered-what-the-heck-was-wrong-with-me memories.
TAKE SOME ADVICE FROM ME,
a former Christmas perfectionist: Embrace and accept that the ideal Christmas may not exist. Figure out what’s most important to you and focus on those things.If you love wrapping presents like Martha Stewart, make time for it by giving up something you don’t enjoy as much. And maybe my biggest piece of advice is to ask for help. Sure, your partner or kids may not do things your way, but let them get involved.
LET GO OF YOUR OVER-THE-TOP STANDARDS,
and just enjoy that tasks are done. Things were much more relaxed in our household last year. We ordered Thai food on Christmas Eve instead of me cooking my usual three-course meal. And you know what? It was amazing—no mess in the kitchen, no hours spent cooking, no clean up. It was the best gift I gave myself and my family. I also made a schedule for cooking other holiday meals and doing chores so everyone helped out. And, I spent more than a few nights with my feet up in front of the fire enjoying my pared-down decorations that looked just as beautiful as I’d hoped.
DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR:
Let go of the expectation of perfection and just enjoy the imperfection. That’s were the real memories are made.
WORDS Darlene Gudrie-Butts