Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Perfect Christmas??

I found this on someones Facebook page. But it is so true. Long read, but well worth it (I think).

There's something about Christmas I just can't stand.

I love the celebration and it's meaning. It has substance. It has depth. It's eternal. The underlying structure beneath the shiny paper and tinsel is made of granite and truth.

But I love the pageantry as well. The lights continue to fascinate me. The music continues to move me. It feels good to give to others, be it through material gifts or the gift of time and love.

And I love the memories. Our lives are a multi-colored fabric with many different threads of experience. Those are a large part of what makes Christmas so magical: the cherished memories.

We remember visions of twinkling lights...stockings hung...that one time it snowed....the sweet-treats on brightly colored plates.

And we spend most of our adult lives trying to re-create it ... to re-live it ... to share it again with our children, family, and friends.

And that's where it so often goes so very, very wrong.

Why?

Because as faulty humans we put backbreaking pressure on ourselves to something impossible:

MAKE. IT. PERFECT.

And, of course, it can't be.

NOTHING IS PERFECT!

It's an unrealistic and ridiculous expectation!

And yet, we jump on that treadmill year after year - making the Christmas season annually one of the most stressful and worrisome times of the year.

Exactly what it's NOT meant to be.

We make ourselves miserable trying to make things perfect. Which leads to anxiety, frustration, anger. Which leads to hot temperaments. Which leads to hot words. Which leads to fights. Which leads to yelling. Which creates a sense of disquiet and the exact opposite of what the season is about:

Hope.

And Love.

And Peace.

We've all been there.

You want the gift to be perfect. Or you want the meal to be perfect. Or you want the decorations to be perfect. Or you want your house to be clean (and perfect).

And it won't be. Because - remember this crucial point:

NOTHING IS PERFECT.

Something ALWAYS goes wrong.

Or is just off center. Or is just overcooked. Or is slightly out of place. Or is not really what she wanted.

Give yourself a gift this holiday season - and every season to come. Tell yourself:

IT'S OKAY IF EVERYTHING ISN'T PERFECT.

Enjoy Christmas!

Sure. You should still do the things you need to do to function as a family.

But go ahead - right now - this very minute - and say to yourself:

Christmas doesn't have to be perfect.

Then add this thought for good measure:

It's usually when things go REALLY WRONG that we end up enjoying the most! And even if it's not fun at the moment? It becomes the best story of all time, passed down from generation to generation.

When I was a boy, I was in the Arkansas mountains at my grandparents for Thanksgiving. The whole family went. They lived on a dirt road, way up in the hills, away from everyone.

My grandmother had grand plans. Turkey . Ham. Biscuits. Pies. And more.

And then it snowed.

And snowed.

And snowed some more.

So much snow that those fragile power lines that snaked up through the mountains and trees JUST for my grandparents house came crashing down under the weight.

No power.

And it wasn't coming back anytime soon.

Disastrous? You bet! All that time, money, effort, and hopes? Dashed!

A bunch of yahoos sitting around a small house in the Arkansas woods in the cold and dark.

So what did we do?

We laughed.

The grownups said: Well - lets make the best of it.

We piled into pickup trucks, and slowly made our way into town.

My great aunt had an apartment there, miles and miles away. Turns out, they still had electricity in that small pocket. And it turned out that my great-aunt Margaret had all the fixin's for tacos.

So we ate Thanksgiving tacos.

We ate, and laughed, and looked out at the snow.

And gave thanks that we were all together.

A lot of those loved ones aren't with me anymore. And that has become a priceless heirloom. A cherished memory I'll revisit forever.

Give yourself breathing room this year.

Don't place so much stress on yourself to make things perfect that it ruins the very thing you should be celebrating.

Accept that things WILL go wrong (they will), and that things WON'T be perfect (they won't). Once you realize that truth, the pressure is off. And when the crushing load of self-imposed responsibility begins to lift, it will be one of the greatest gifts of all.

Relax.

Breathe deep.

Start with basic health and wellness and give thanks for what you have.

Count your blessings.

And have a TRULY Merry Christmas.

2 comments:

Linda E said...

I agree 100%...nothing or nobody is perfect and the most fun and lasting memories come from the unperfect times. Good post this morning.

ChrisJ said...

"Self imposed responsibility"! I know all about that. I'm much better than I used to be. The thing that really gets to me about the way we celebrate Christmas today, is the greed and selfishness and the awful enticing hype from the advertising -- especially the latter. Sales, bargains and more sales. Whatever does that have to do with Christmas? Yes, I'm a Grinch but I value so much more sitting down to dinner with my family and visiting afterwards. Then I do love giving the extra to those who serve me faithfully all year long -- the mailman, the gardeners in the park, the lady who cleans house for me every two weeks (what a blessing SHE is!!), my neighbors who watch out for us all the time, as we do for them. I too appreciate the faithful bloggers who take time to comment and give an encouraging word.

Somehow it seems somewhere along the way we have got Christmas all wrong. Yet I'm still thankful for the many who have got it right!

Merry Christmas, Patty and Abe -- for all the right reasons.