Ode to the Good Old Days
I really miss the magic of the holidays. This sentiment has nothing to do with my attitude towards this season. I genuinely miss the magic! When I was younger, Christmas joy just seemed to miraculously appear. Everything seemed perfect and easy. I helped with the fun holiday chores, such as putting up the ornaments (clustering them all on a small branch) or gift wrapping (letting my mom use my finger as a tool to tie the bows). But I had no idea what was really involved in making the holidays happen.
I did not have to wrestle with the holiday lights, or the tree stand, as my parents did. And I certainly did not have an all-night wrapping marathon on Christmas Eve, as my mom did. Oh, and don’t forget about the other items on my mom’s never-ending to-do list: baking way too many cookies, planning a delicious Christmas brunch, and dinner, decorating the house, and attempting to keep sane all at the same time.
Now It’s My Turn to Make the Magic Happen!
Of course, according to the plethora of commercials and movies, these tasks are deemed a necessity. Additionally, they should all be performed in an adorable sweater with a matching pom-pom hat, as we smile and dance around. Ha! No wonder many walk around in a zombie state from Halloween until Christmas. It’s exhausting and it’s too much pressure.
And I am guilty of buying into it…
My Perfectionism is Showing
I tend to think that I am easy going but around the holidays, I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. Especially when it comes to decorating and cooking.
I have entirely too much stuff to glitter and jazz up my house for the holidays and I am obsessed with putting out as much as possible. One more strand of garland and twinkling lights in every room. Definitely!
I’m so ridiculous that I save all the snowmen decorations for January because it is cold in January, and I like snowmen.
And don’t even get me started on cooking!
I enjoy cooking and can make a pretty decent meal on a regular basis. Nothing fancy, but edible and generally enjoyed. But around the holidays, my inner Julia Child is screaming to come out. I like to make everything from scratch. I will look at a frozen pie crust in the store, and think to myself, “Why buy one, when it is so easy to make one?” Yes, it may be easy to make one, but when I am trying to do that and a million other things on a timeline, it’s not easy!
Experience has taught me that my four children, and my husband, will see that I am busy and will choose that time to ask for things. I will feel stressed and annoyed simply because they are breathing.
What am I Trying to Prove?
I like to show my love for people through my cooking and the genuine holiday warmth radiating through my house. But when the days and hours before presenting this seemingly perfect house and table are full of stress and lack of quality time with my family, what memories am I leaving them with?
This year, I vow to be different and to take those short cuts instead of trying to create the illusion that I can do it all—even as a busy mom!
I will make a new goal in making my children feel loved and appreciated—even when I am busy and overwhelmed.
Here’s the funny thing I’ve also realized: Perfection is Forgettable
I remember many wonderful holidays with my family and extended family. Everything seemed picture perfect and there was an abundance of love around. However, because each year was relatively the same, they all kind of blur into each other.
The Flying Monkey Bread Christmas
One of the Christmases that stands out to me the most is the Christmas morning monkey bread disaster. Every year, I make monkey bread, which is a delicious tower of bread dripping with a butter, cinnamon, brown sugar topping. My mom used to do this for us and I like carrying on the tradition.
I learned a very important lesson, though.
You cannot put the sugar topping on top of the bread and then bake it. It needs to go in the pan before the bread.
If you make this critical mistake, your whole house will fill with smoke, the smoke detectors will go crazy, and your husband might just throw the entire bunt pan of smoking monkey bread out the door. Into the snow! I was fuming because I really wanted that bread. However, my children all remember it and we like to joke around about the Christmas of the Flying Monkey Bread! Definitely not perfect, but very memorable.
Let It Go and Shake it Up!
So don’t be afraid to let things go and to shake things up this holiday season! Things don’t have to be perfect to have a lasting impression. Unforgettable memories are made when you make a mistake or put aside traditions. Traditions are wonderful, but so is creating something new.
What do you want your children to remember about the holidays that they have shared with you?
Hopefully it is the fun, joy, and even a little magic, that the holidays bring, rather than the elusive goal of perfection!