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.
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.