Does it ever seem like everyone else is able to pull off the perfect Christmas? The lights are perfectly glowing from the rooftops, the Christmas Tree is straight from the cover of a magazine and the whole family gathers together to make perfectly iced sugar cookies while sounds of carols and laughter are floating though the air.
Several years back I recall my own mother saying how hard she tried every year to have the perfect Christmas at our own house. She felt like she never was able to fully accomplish it and she felt a tinge of disappointment when real life got in the way. I looked at her with confusion after this statement. Were we not in the same house? My mother was the essence of perfection growing up and Christmas was no different. Traditions were made in our household that I hold very close to my heart; so much so that it hurts when we are not able to enact them every year. I yearn for the perfect Christmas that in my eyes was every Christmas of my childhood.
Whether we were at our own house or with extended family, my mother could always be found running around in her Christmas apron baking batches and batches of holiday cookies and homemade h’orderves for Christmas Eve while our family dog would be attached to her feet eating every crumb that dropped on the floor. The Christmas music would be blaring and the tree would always be glistening. My brothers and I would be playing (or fighting) in the family room while watching our favorite Christmas movies. My dad’s favorites have all naturally become our own: “White Christmas”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and later on “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. Our Christmas Eve tradition consists of stuffing our face with h’orderves, cookies and attending church and of course Christmas morning always came early. We would each be allowed to open our stockings before everyone gathered around the tree but we could not open a present until we were all together. One family member always passed out the gifts and we opened them one by one in a circle until they were gone. This may seem unrealistic with three children but it is what we did, and still try to do this day. My mother would prepare breakfast while we all played with our new toys and would begin the process of making Christmas dinner. The day finished with a family gathering around the dining room table with a beautiful dinner, everyone in their brand new clothes and all of us giving thanks for the blessings of another holiday season
These memories stick with me every year when the holiday season begins. As I get older I find myself yearning for those perfect childhood Christmas’. I yearn to be around my family who is currently spread out around the nation. I hate that getting older means work schedules getting in the way, waking up separately on Christmas morning and trying to set a rotation so that you and your siblings can all be at home at the same time, while balancing time with the spouse’s families. I hate that some holidays end up with just a few of my immediate family members being around. I struggle with the holidays as I see others pull off the “perfect Christmas” and in knowing that as we continue to get older, it will never be the same.
I know now that there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas and that everyone yearns for something more or something different. I know people are struggling with lost loved ones, deployed family members and so much more. I know that I have been blessed and continue to be every holiday season. This Christmas I will be spending with all the members of my immediate family for the first time in years. I know there will be arguments. I know there will be forgiveness. I know there will be tears, laughter and my mother running around the kitchen cooking and baking in her holiday apron. Maybe I’ll get my perfect Christmas one more time…
What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?