Christmas is almost here! For me, it feels like it already is. With all of the parties and family get-togethers that have already happened, Christmas definitely feels like more than just a day. No wonder they call it the Christmas season.
Today I was thinking about all of the pressure to make everything perfect. The pressure to find the perfect gifts, the perfect decorations, and to be in a perfect mood. That’s right, I said it. There’s even pressure to be jolly and joyful for EVERY SECOND of EVERY DAY.
One second I am feeling joyful and excited to give gifts to my family and friends, the next I am comparing my gifts to what others are giving and feel ashamed of what I am able to give. One second I am enjoying our home decorated for Christmas with hand-me-down decorations and crafts that my kids made, and then next I am yearning over other people’s perfectly decorated homes. And one second I am happy to be spending so much time with family and friends, and the next I am feeling drained and anti-social.
I decided that this year is the year that I embrace an imperfect Christmas. Like my kids’ nativity scene in the image above, Christmas isn’t always perfect. Sometimes it’s broken, or messy, or even falling apart. And sometimes the only thing (kind of) keeping it all together is a little Scotch tape.
The first Christmas, after all, wasn’t so glorious but was surprisingly humble and chaotic. The first Christmas, where Mary and Joseph had to take a long trip on a donkey even though Mary was about to pop. Where Mary had to give birth to Jesus in a cave surrounded by animals. Where God decided to send word about Jesus’ birth through angels to humble, unassuming shepherds. Where King Herod freaked out about another king being born so he decided to find Jesus and kill him so Mary and Joseph had to flee.
Not so glamorous, huh?!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy decorating my house, buying/wrapping/giving gifts, and planning all of the goodies and meals. I enjoy all of the extra time I get to spend with the people I love. But that doesn’t mean it is perfect or that everything goes smoothly. Nothing is ideal, and that is okay.
Sometimes, though, I find myself comparing our Christmas “experience” to that of others. In those times, I get self-conscious of our humble, imperfect Christmas. I feel like I need to do more, buy more, be more.
Today, I am telling myself to JUST STOP IT! Stop comparing, and just accept it. Stop stressing, and just enjoy it. Stop acting, and just be you. And that’s what I want to say to you today as well.
In the interest of full disclosure, this is what our imperfect Christmas looks like this year:
- My Christmas tree isn’t picture-perfect. (Gasp!) My kids decorated it, so the ornaments are not evenly spaced (or coordinated).
- My walls are COVERED in paper. My oldest daughter is always making decorations and then using all of the tape in the house hanging them up.
- I don’t get to spend Christmas with everyone I want. With over half of my family in another state, we have a pretty quiet Christmas.
- We haven’t established any traditions as a family, despite being a family for over 10 years.
- I am stressed by all of the running around, but I am trying to keep my spirits up and my smile wide (but am often failing).
- Our gifts are thoughtful, but inexpensive. (We only spend $50 for each of our kids!)
- I have one kid who is sick, one kid who gave himself a black eye in his sleep, and one kid who shot soap in her eye and is still bloodshot and swollen four days later.
- I have a husband with a sinus infection and one ear that is so swollen on the inside that he can’t really hear out of it.
Oofta. None of this is a big deal, but it isn’t ideal either. And when Christmas isn’t ideal, it can feel like it is ruined.
The truth is, our Christmas will always be imperfect. It will never be ideal. But it will be ours, and it will be wonderful.