December 1st already – hard to believe how quickly the year has gone by… though I’m pretty sure I say that every year. Just past Thanksgiving, still a few weeks out from Christmas. Hanukkah starts this Sunday… The holiday season is gearing up. So, of course, is the stress. I need to decorate the house, get the tree, decorate the tree, buy the presents, wrap the presents, mail the holiday cards. Most of all, make memories for the kids. Make it magic. Not too magic, of course, don’t want to spoil them. Just enough, just the right amount. Just make it perfect. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? You can find perfection on Pinterest and Facebook.
I am not, however, Martha Stewart. My house is loud and lived in. My elf on the shelf is hiding (and I’m hoping to keep it that way, dude is creepy). My dogs sit on the sofa and lick my face. I buy the kids too much and wrap it messily, all thumbs with tape and ribbon and wrapping paper cut too large. I make hot cocoa, the instant variety out of little envelopes. The kids love it anyway. We watch Christmas specials on YouTube, memories of my own childhood. I string the lights on the tree –
It’s imperfect and messy and still magical. When the lights are out and only the tree is shining. When we’re all cuddled together on the couch. When the kids write letters to Santa. When we drive through the neighborhood to see the lights shining in the long darkness. It is enough and more than enough. To quote a Tim Minchin song out of context, “It’s not perfect, but it’s mine.”
I don’t want perfection, or the stress that goes with striving for it and failing. (Because, after all, nothing is ever perfect.) I want to enjoy the quiet, the magic, the lights in the darkness. I want to stay grounded and present. Because I don’t want to lose touch with how lucky I am.