Fun fact about me: I’m a holiday nutcase.
I spend 11 months of the year putting up with everyday life just so I can enjoy the holiday season.
This year, it took us three days to decorate. There are now four Christmas trees in my house (five if you count the 2′ tree in the powder room). I’ve been listening to holiday music since October. Soon my freezer will be full of cookie dough just waiting to be baked off. I’m even attempting a gingerbread house.
I live for this stuff.
So why do I hate it so much sometimes? Why was my blood pressure through the roof while I was decorating? Just the thought of all that baking and cooking and shopping and wrapping makes me want to pour a (large) glass of wine. Why am I already overwhelmed when it’s not even December yet?
It’s the quest for perfection that gets me every single time. The need to make every holiday season the best ever. My inability to learn from past mistakes, especially when it comes to what I’m capable of accomplishing.
Twenty years from now, will I look back fondly on the time I swore like a sailor and burned my fingers repeatedly while trying to make a coffee filter wreath? How about the time I stayed up til 2 AM putting together an enormous cookie tray to take to work? Or the massive amount of pressure I put on myself to assemble gift baskets full of homemade goodies? Talk about stress.
Of course I don’t look fondly on those times (and in the case of the coffee filter wreath, I’m still nursing sore fingertips). Sure, I tend to forget them – especially when it comes time to dream up some new torture to put myself through in the name of holiday magic. Funny how the memory plays tricks on us.
If there’s anything I’ve learned lately, it’s that time is sometimes shorter than we expect. Why should I carry the pressure of everyone else’s happiness on my shoulders? Life’s too short.
The tree doesn’t have to look like it came out of a magazine. It’s okay if I only bake a half dozen kinds of cookies. The gingerbread house can be crooked – if it even remains standing by the time I’m finished with it. The holiday season doesn’t hang on such insignificant details.
Instead of running myself ragged, I need to take notice of the perfection in the small moments. Enjoying a Christmas movie on the couch with Rob. Having friends over for drinks, especially friends I haven’t seen in a while. Sitting down to a feast with my family – one I’m fortunate enough to be able to provide.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact there’s no such thing. It only has to come from the heart. If there was ever a time for my best to be enough, it’s now.
I’m sure my fingers won’t miss the hot glue burns.