Our Imperfect Christmas

by flowers on December 10, 2009 · 11 comments

Congratulations to Nora who won the Soft Star Shoes gift certificate! Thanks to everyone who participated. I have one more treat lined up for you Monday. Knitters……be on the lookout!

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When I read FIMBY’s perfectly unperfect Christmas post I completely understood where she was coming from.

You see I was really dreaming of the perfect Christmas this year. It is only our second year as a family in our own house. For the past few years we were living at my parents as we saved for our home and before that we had housemates. Last year was really a first for us doing Christmas on our own and like any first, you have a certain idea of how you’ll do things next time. Also, we travel back to the greater Boston area to spend Christmas with our family and what I found last year was that it never felt Christmasy in our own home and I wanted that to change.

So this year I was determined to make our home into Christmasland and recreate that squishy warm feeling that one remembers in their mind (even if maybe it never happened quite like they remembered it).

We came back from visiting relatives for Thanksgiving and did a big Christmas push–brought a tree home, took out our decorations, and whipped out some gingerbread dough. I think my mistake was trying to have too much Christmas fun (I now know this is possible). It definitely wasn’t the nostalgic day I had been envisioning.

Well, maybe it was– I mean it was cute that the lights we bought were cool white, while the lights we had from last year were warm white. I tried to take them down, but Sol insisted it was much better this way and spent a good half-hour showing us how by unplugging one set we could have an “icy cold tree” and by unplugging another set we could have a “warm toasty tree”.


If my tree looks like a two year old decorated it–it’s because he did, or rather we realized that we could hang very few ornaments low because he just takes them down and proceeds to destroy them by his innate curiosity of needing to take everything apart. Now that I think about it–that’s sounds like a normal part of family living. Not such a big deal.

But when Stone decided the cheesy, polyester Frosty hat Sol rescued from a free pile last summer should be the crowning glory of our Christmas tree my knees buckled. I mean, I read Apples for Poppy Anne. Did you see her plans? My Christmas dreams started out looking like that. They definitely did not include a half-warm, half-cool, top heavy tree topped with a dirty old frosty hat.

I realized something needed to change when I actually started yelling during gingerbread making. Stone came downstairs and promptly said, “Mama’s having a breakdown let’s do something else,” and ushered the boys to go roughhouse in the living room. I stood in my kitchen surrounded by warm gingerbread while being serenaded by Bing Crosby and as I listened to my family wrestle around a lit Christmas tree I realized the only thing imperfect about our Christmas were my expectations.

Luckily, my expectations and perceptions are much easier to fix than my Christmas tree.

I love those kind of moments.

Wishing your family a perfectly, imperfect Christmas season.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

renee @ FIMBY December 10, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I laughed at this! This was good (and thanks for the linky love). I love how kids see the good side of situations that we find irritating.

I strung our lights on the tree to discover half of them didn’t work, the expensive LED ones that I only bought 2 years ago, grr…I have had such a great month of not expecting the spectacular but enjoying the days as they unfold and seeing the magic of those everyday moments.

There are traditions we are not even observing this year, advent being one, because I just don’t have the energy to “make it happen” and no one else has asked for it so I guess it’s not missed. All the top things we wanted to do this season (we each had one) we’ve been able to do and to not feel pressure to make this holiday perfect for everyone is so freeing!!

Ok , sorry to ramble on here but I’m just really enjoying my month.


exhale. return to center. December 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm

you rock my world, hil.

seriously. thank you for this.

pre-kids i did not *allow* colored christmas lights in our house. i thought they were absolutely tacky.

we now have more colored lights in and on our house than you can imagine. it is so gaudy i could barely look at it…until i saw it through my kids’ eyes and heard them talk about how proud they are of our beautiful house and our beautiful tree.

here’s to imperfect christmases with colored lights and half-warm, half-cool, frosty-hat topped trees!!!



flowers December 10, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I have to tell you that I just read this out loud to Stone and we both started laughing so hard. It was really good to be able to go back, if only a week later and laugh at something that was originally frustrating.

Erin-I hear you about the colored lights. I tried to boycott and Sol *insisted* on one strand and they actually really balanced the tree out–if you can believe that ;-)


Nora December 11, 2009 at 12:44 am

I am still ogling the Soft Star website. I can’t thank you enough! I rarely win anything.

We have 3 miles of old lights that we can’t find in our storage ‘system’. I bought the cold white lights by accident this year and had to return them after the wife and I agreed that it felt too fluorescent. My ‘all natural, no plastic, handmade ornament/decorations’ vibe I had going on is slightly altered by the 4′ plastic light up Santa the kids fell in love with at the thrift store last July. We are also doing advent only a couple of times a week. I feel your pain / joy. I also adore the stripey tree.
.-= Nora´s last blog ..Needle Felting =-.


Zanna December 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Oh, this is so sweet and funny! I’m glad you came to a perspective that feels good. <3

And you tell Sol, that if he ever wants to go into the lighting biz (with his obviously great sense of color), I know a guy….


Stacy (Mama-Om) December 11, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Aaahhhhhh, imperfect life. :-)



PureMothers December 13, 2009 at 4:41 pm

So funny and endearing. I’d never been to Apples for Poppy Annes blog- (thanks for sending me there) – but that made me laugh. Those photos are beautiful. I get what you were after. But your imperfect Christmas will be the memory you will have forever! Merry Christmas!
.-= PureMothers´s last blog ..Our Green Move =-.


TheOrganicSister December 14, 2009 at 12:48 am

haha Sorry, I don’t mean to laugh but your tree is awesome! Enjoy it now cuz I know you’ll be enjoying and laughing over the memory of it forever.

I had grand ideas of doing something for Advent every day. psha I should’ve known better. I’ve found the more I contrive, the less we enjoy. So now we’re just flowing with the Go. ;)
.-= TheOrganicSister´s last blog ..Unemployed =-.


renee @ FIMBY December 15, 2009 at 7:12 am

Comments are closed on your newest post hon. I get an 404 message. But once you fix it I’ll be back. I love that magazine (& I love hanging out with funky people in my neighborhood & community – lucky you).


Jasie VanGesen December 16, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Really… all I can say is that you are a MUCH bigger person than I am. The holidays really bring out the worst of my obsessiveness and perfectionism. I turn into my mother and it makes me sad. I was never allowed to help decorate the tree and resented it greatly.
.-= Jasie VanGesen´s last blog ..sleepy times are here again. =-.


flowers December 16, 2009 at 1:30 pm

(((((hugs))))) to you now *and* to your child-self. I can only imagine how disappointing and resentful that would make you feel.

I hope you find some peace in it as you navigate your way with your own family.

One of the things i like best about realizing distressful things from my childhood is realizing that I now have the opportunity to do it differently. We either repeat or change. I believe that you could change it and in that action a piece of your childhood may be healed.

love to you and yours :-)


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