Newsflash: Mom lets kids "own the tree!"
Enthusiastic Kids: 1
Controlling Perfectionist Mom: 0
Actually, that zero is probably just one in a million (as in Mom: 1,000,000) but hey, life is a journey, right?
This Christmas, I let the kids pick out the tree (bare spot included) and decorate it without any Mom-carp about clumping ornaments, cattywampus beads, dead spots in the lights or glass figurines hung precariously where they could fall.
Then, I let my children, aged 8 & 10, choose the candy-cane lights, wind tightly the beads, construct a hand-made star and hang the ornaments wherever they darned-well pleased. I watched from the kitchen and bit my tongue when the “urge to command” came over me.
Yes, it was a Christmas miracle.
Bah-Humburg, Martha Stewart & Pinterest!
Long before Facebook was popular on the grandparent scene, I fell prey to the pressure of a providing the photo-worthy Facebook Pintastic Christmas; the elusive “Looks Just Like A Department Store Tree” vision I’d always strived to produce. But alas, the limitless pins of “If-You-Really-Loved-Us-Mom-You’d-Make-Our-Pizza-In-The-Shape-Of-A-Snowman” and “Hey-Slacker-Mom-You-Forgot-To-Handpress-Our-Christmas-Wrap-With-Old-Photos-Of-Us-From-Our-First-Christmas-With-Santa” are overwhelming to anyone who wishes to go to bed before 2 am.
This year, I finally gave up the ghost of Christmas Perfection. I’m focusing on the simpler things.
I banned myself from Pinterest.
Is my tree color-coordinated to my living room? Did I grow a dozen amaryllis in a vintage cookie tin and tie it with a raffia bow? Did we mail calligraphed, peppermint-scented letters to Santa? Did I tape Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindoor, buy those tickets to the Disney Concert Hall Holiday show or hang real boughs of holly off the banister?? Hell NO!
I’m not sure how the pressure to provide a Fairytaled-Christmas experience started – but I am thankful that I’ve finally crossed the rubicon into the world of a reasonable-and-sane holiday.
I “designed” our christmas card in 10 minutes, I outsourced cookies to Aunt Meemee, Grandma and the local bakery, I bought EVERY present online (oh, Totefish), I brought out the advent calendars two days ago and YES, I “accidently hid” that crazy elf that I’m supposed to hide every night in the garbage on Trash Day. Oops. My bad.
In my version of “A Christmas Carol,” the ghost of Christmas Past shows a young girl running around in the snow, ice forming on her toes, snot dripping from her nose. She’s laughing. She grabs the cracked & faded sled and follows her brother up the hill for one more ride.
Through a steamy window, the ghost of Christmas Present watches a tired mom, wiping the sweat from her brow, mumbling curse words under her breath as she takes her 3rd attempt to get that homemade “William Sonoma Exclusive” Victorian gingerbread house to stick together with organic frosting that’s just too runny while her children watch silently from the safe distance of the living room sofa.
The Ghost of Christmas Future? An old woman falls into a grave made from frosted, swirled cupcakes dusted with varying trendy shades of charcoal grey sprinkles.
It’s hard to redefine what is “perfect” in today’s life.
Looking at this year’s tree leaves me hopeful that I’m on the path to finding it.
Have yourself a wonderful & relaxing Christmas (and a more self-realized “perfect” New Year)!