In this month’s Better Homes and Gardens, there was an article by Holly Robinson about the perfect Christmas.
Actually, it was more about how the perfect Christmas isn’t the one we tend to remember, yet it’s something we strive for.
We desperately want that Martha Stewart Christmas tree, with the perfectly placed ornaments and a star that looks plucked from the heavens. We envy that one co-worker who seems to have it all together during the holidays, who finishes her Christmas shopping right after Thanksgiving and wraps gifts better than the seasons workers at Macy’s. We want perfection.
But, as Robinson writes, “The point of holidays isn’t perfection at all. In the end, meals get eaten presents get grown out of and even perfect greeting cards get thrown away. It’s the unique that is memorable. No matter our religious beliefs, we celebrate holidays with our families and friends in part because these rituals mark the passage of time together. If we have a shared memory that lingers, especially one that makes us laugh, then we have succeeded in creating not just a holiday, but a true gift of the spirit.”
The story was all about the Christmases we remember. For me, it’s the too-tall Christmas tree my dad managed to fit into our living room, the top curved against the ceiling. Or one of the many times a gift my dad ordered online didn’t make it in time for Christmas so he would write the recipient a poem instead. I live for those moments!
This year my friends and I got together to make gingerbread houses last week. And we decided to skip the pre-made kits and create our own versions from just graham crackers, frosting, Oreos and just about every candy you could think of.
And while most of us tried to build something halfway decent, we quickly realized that wasn’t really the point. (My house — if you want to call it that — is below.) It was about taking some time out of our Christmas shopping and other holiday parties to be together, to laugh at our lack of architectural skills and eat as much sugar as humanly possible.
No one built a perfect house — though some came close — but that didn’t matter. I won’t remember, exactly, what everyone made. (Except one that featured a marshmallow monster and a suicidal gummy bear. I mean, how can you forget that?) But I will remember the get-together — and how much fun I had.
Perfect is boring. Perfect isn’t fun. Perfect isn’t memorable. As Robinson writes, “If we have a shared memory that lingers, especially one that makes us laugh, then we have succeeded in creating not just a holiday, but a true gift of the spirit.”
I’d have to agree with that!
Got an imperfect Christmas memory to share?
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you got me thinking, a rare occurrence for me. maybe part of the holidays are about trying to pull together all the loose ends and unfinished tasks in our relationship lives. we know we can’t achieve perfection, the world reminds us of that every day. but this time of year, when we can take the time to turn our attention more to friends and family than to work and money, we do. and in our collapsing gingerbread houses and ill fitting sweaters and untimely FedEx deliveries, we’re saying we love eachother because of, not in spite of our flaws.
have a cool Yule and a frantic First, Cat.
@turkfontaineturkfontaine. How did you know my sweater was ill-fitting…? All kidding aside, you’re right, we can’t achieve perfection. It’s chasing waterfalls.
Before my siblings got older and had large famlier (kids and grandkids) of their own, whenever we’d get together in the 80s and 90s, we’d all play games. Mostly card games, but sometimes board games, pictionary, or something as simple as a sheet of paper and pencil for everyone with one shared dictionary for a game called, well, “Dictionary!” One thing was always “guaranteed” to happen… yelling/screaming matches, LOL! I mean there would be seriously contested arguments happening. People would storm off leaving the game, someone would always shout at them “Don’t go away mad, just go away!” Hahahaha! The “fights” would never turn physical, nor would anyone say anything they would really regret. Feelings would heel in a matter of hours, and by the next year, we’d all laugh about “last year’s” arguments between soandso and soandso–all before a new round would begin.
Sounds dysfunctional, nah! We all laugh about now and recall the larger ones that occurred with such comedic detail! Maybe this fits in your imperfect Christmas? They sure were memorable…
@MaxMaxMaxMaxMaxMax. Our family played a lot of poker… and my dad had no problem taking away our allowance!
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