No One Remembers A Perfect Christmas

It’s that time of year when I have visions of delicious Christmas cookies, wrapped presents, harmonious children and fluffy snow dancing through my head.  This year, I think, we’ll look like a Christmas card.  Yes! I can see it now.  We’re jolly!  Organized!  Healthy!   I’ll make my own peppermint ice cream while roasting a turkey!  Oh, did I mention crafty homemade gifts for the teachers?    We’ll sing carols around the karaoke machine  piano!

As I plotted my holiday perfection, my mind drifted to memorable holidays past.  And realized the only stories our family brings up from the years, are disasters.  Yep, the stuff you never plan on, ends up making the Christmas memory.

Like the year my 6-year-old niece knocked over an already unstable Christmas tree.  There were screams (ok, just me) as it crashed forward.  We lost a few ornaments, but have priceless video of the aftermath and pictures of my dad’s legs sticking out from under the tree like he’s an auto mechanic.

Don't knock over the tree. Please.

The year my sister got the stomach flu and vomited out in the snow while we were sledding.  We taunt her mercilessly about it to this day.  And the story always seems to be brought up at dinner. (eeewwww)

The year my oldest sister created a coffee-ish eggnog concoction which could (should) have been categorized as hazardous material.  (No, not the same year my sister vomited)

The year my mother left a knife on a cookie sheet and BAKED the knife.  The handle melted.  Interestingly enough, she pried it off the sheet and the knife is still used today.  You can’t really grip it, but it still works.

The year I ordered a sign for my dad’s wine collection (ok, his wine shelf) that arrived just in time for Christmas.  Instead of saying “Tom’s Wine Bar”, it said “Tom Wine Bar”.  I was furious because it was too late to get him a new one.  Everyone still refers to the wine closet as “Tom Wine Bar.”

I was still smirking from memories of Tom Wine Bar, when Martha Stewart came on the “Today” show.  I perked up.  She was teaching the cast (yes, they’re a cast.  Like a dysfunctional TV news reality show) how to make three of her signature Christmas cookies.  One of the anchors made a mistake with the icing and actually looked scared as Martha pointed out she put too much on.  There were no silly stories about how Martha made cookies with her children, or how gingerbread reminds her of home.

It was all perfect.

And really boring.

Let’s be honest.  Perfect is no fun. And no matter how perfect I try to make my Christmas this year, for me or for my family, something is going to go wrong.  And it’s going to make a hilarious story next year.  That’s what my kids will remember, not that I made candy, or that bows were stuck on every present, or everyone had matching Christmas outfits.  Or maybe they will remember the matching outfit thing (and probably tell a therapist about it).  For the first time in a long time, I feel good about letting go of the quest for perfection and just letting it be good enough.  Besides, if my Christmas Eve dinner for 15 is a bust, the ‘ol “I’ve given up perfection for Christmas” thing is sure to work.

My sister just asked if she should make her nog this year.

I may not be perfect.  And I’m also not crazy. Still no on the nog.

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11 Comments on “No One Remembers A Perfect Christmas”

  1. TrishFromMich says:

    OK, everyone, I’m going to start the chant….feel free to join in….”NOG, NOG, NOG, NOG.” Nog is a comin’ down the chimny to getcha, Sister Christy. There’s nothing you can do about that McDonald Sister’s Favorite Thing……hazmat suit sold separately. ;)

  2. Meltdown says:

    Great blog. Having kids, there’s no such thing as a perfect Christmas. Last year my son, who was 7 at the time, came down stairs and opened up all of his presents before we got up. As I was handing things out, I couldn’t help but wonder why nothing had his name on it. He sat there waiting patently like he didn’t have a care in the world, which for any kid waiting for Christmas presents is unlikely. We finally figured out he had opened them and hide the wrapping under the couch. I can’t wait to see what he does this year. I won’t even go into the time he woke up early on Easter morning, went outside to see if anything was out there like the previous year, and got locked out of the house….story for next time!
    Great to see you last night!!!!!

  3. amber housey says:

    Deck the Halls with boughs of Holly, Fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra. A Christmas Story is a great depiction of a 1950s version of my family at Christmas, less than perfect.
    A groggy magical beginning with gifts scattered on the floor, flying wrapping paper and thankful squeals and hugs….then…..all hell breaks loose. Clean up, get dressed, eat something, hurry up, stop yelling,do what I said, why do we have to go there anyway, hurry up, you’re not dressed, I want to play with my toy, not till tomorrow, hurry up, wahhhhhh, stop crying and get ready, stop yelling, get in the car, grab the gifts, grab the food, I can’t find my shoe, hurrry, shut up, stop yelling, wahhhhh….sob, sniff, off to grandmas.
    Exhausting. Now with my family, I try to take it slow, let them enjoy and make it peaceful. It is far from perfect but happy. The mishaps and imperfect moments are fun to remember and share.

    thanks for your story. Another good one. I wouldn’t pass it up for anything. I hope you have a great Christmas. Let get together soon. Love!

  4. Motormouth says:

    Martha Stewart’s own daughter recently wrote a book where she said she had to wrap her own Christmas presents. Finally, a role model I can emulate! :)

  5. Awesome post! Perfect is boring. . . I wish I could have read this before I was cleaning up my son’s very unfortunate diaper mishap shortly before going to my daughter’s school Christmas party. I will laugh at that later, right?

    • Erin, any poopy diaper mishap is painful and there are a few I still can’t laugh at… But at least it didn’t happen AT the school Christmas party, right? Thanks for reading and commenting – have a very Merry Christmas!

  6. [...] No One Remembers a Perfect Christmas (Christy McDonald) [...]


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