Each November I start the holiday season full of excitement and anticipation for the “perfect holiday.” This will be the year the house is beautifully decorated, greeting cards get mailed out weeks in advance, I’ll pick out thoughtful gifts and wrap them exquisitely, I’ll cook healthy, delicious food, I’ll attend the coolest parties, wear the cutest clothes and spend quality time with the people I love. I imagine doing all of these things effortlessly.
Up to the attic I go to retrieve the boxes of decorations. Soon after pulling everything out and examining what’s what, I am overwhelmed with the decorating project. Switching gears I’m off to the mall armed with my holiday “to do” list; singing “Jingle Bells.” Ten hours later I’m cranky, tired, and frustrated. I spent way too much money and bought only half of what was needed.
After a few weeks of chipping away at my list, it seems to be longer than when I started. The house is still not decorated, I have endless amounts of presents to wrap, and if I hear one more Christmas song I will scream. Now I’m running out of time. I’m feeling not creative enough, and not organized enough, to put Christmas together at all—let alone the “perfect holiday”. On top of all that I am judging myself for feeling like the Grinch.
I take a deep breath and head back to the mall for another attempt to finish the shopping, I look around at the other weary shoppers and I can see exhaustion, resentment, and fear in their eyes. I keep thinking, what are we doing all of this for? What are we truly trying to achieve? What if we didn't buy all these presents, decorations and food?
What if we just slowed down and actually enjoyed time off from school and work without feeling the need to make a big fuss? What if we were happy just hanging out with the people we love? Wouldn't that be amazing? Wouldn’t that be a “perfect holiday”? This year I’m letting go of perfection, expectations, and judgments. I am going to do what I can and leave the rest behind. I am going to have fun and enjoy my not so perfect, perfect holiday!