I have given up on the idea of a dreamy white Christmas. You know, the kind where all the kids smile for that Christmas picture–or at least look at the camera without having been bribed with candy or making threats to tell Santa they’ve been naughty.
Nope, instead–I have embraced this.
And I love it.
This is my family. We are a bit crazy.
We aren’t always polite. We are loud. We are stubborn. We fight over Christmas trees. My husband likes the Douglas Firs.
I’ve always wanted a Noble (you know the kind with the stronger branches to hold the ornaments). I’ve never gotten a Noble Fir. I’m finally ok with that now. I’ve never gotten the white lit tree with elegant decorations. I’m ok with that, too.
We have multicolored flashing lights and ornaments that have special memories of each year. The kids love it and so do I. We have an angel that sits crookedly on our tree. Do I look bothered? I’m learning to embrace imperfection.
Why? Because I’m learning that these imperfect moments are the ones I remember most fondly. These moments represent the real us, and we are imperfect.
So instead of relating to each other with our perfect holiday photos and our magazine-worthy decorations–
Let's embrace the beauty of holiday imperfection. Click To Tweet
I can’t tell you how many times we have spent hours, even in the rain, searching for a tree to cut down. When someone finally spots the tree, it’s perfect! Well, at least half of it.
One year, I refused to say yes to the tree my husband picked. It was near a tree we found bugs on. I was certain that any tree in its vicinity would also have bugs. At this point, my husband just wanted to get the tree and leave. Did I mention it was raining?
So I got my choice. When we got home and put the tree up I had to swallow my pride when I found red beetles on it. Sorry, hon.
After frantically searching the web and imagining my home infested–I am happy to inform you that we survived with only a few hitchhiking Boxelder bugs.
The Year I Didn’t Cook a Turkey
I was determined to have the best dinner ever before we decorated our tree. I was making my first turkey with a Martha Stewart recipe. The gravy involved a lot of prep and ingredients and was going to be oh-so-good! Everything was perfect— in my mind.
I followed the directions to a T. This recipe involved cooking the turkey on broil for part of the day and then turning it to low for the rest of the day. But it was 6:00 and the turkey didn’t look done. I called my mother-in-law frustrated that our dinner was going to be late.
She came over and said, “Honey, the oven isn’t on!”
Somehow I must have turned the oven off! All the visions in my head of being the perfect wife and mom who could cook a delicious turkey came pouring out through my disappointed tears. But I’ll never forget the Christmas that I didn’t cook a turkey.
My husband loves this picture because he’s the only one looking at the camera!
Who Unwrapped the Christmas Gifts?
Then there was the year we left our dog Molly in the house while we went to my mother-in-law’s, a few doors down. We had left behind a beautiful array of gifts strewn about the floor from family.
My mom brought gifts for her sons-in-law (cupcakes and Twinkies), See’s Candies for my in-laws and dog toys for the dogs. While we were gone, Molly tore open all the gifts and ate all those cupcakes, Twinkies and See’s. Wrappers and all. She even celebrated Christmas and sniffed out her dog toys and unwrapped every single one.
Searching Garbage Cans!
Ever accidentally throw out your Christmas gifts? I have. My family did an ornament exchange where we bought a special ornament for everyone instead of gifts. Let me tell you, ornaments are pricey (especially Hallmark). And yes, there were tears as I went digging through garbage cans.
Isn’t the tree supposed to be green?
One year, a week after cutting down our tree, the branches were completely brown. Have you ever taken a dead Christmas tree through the door? Needles. Everywhere!
This would be the year we went to Home Depot and decorated a tree for the second time. As my hubby plugged in the strand of lights, the wire sparked and shorted out all our lights.
I enjoyed this post so much! It put expectations in perspective, and gave me a few chuckles along the way.
Thanks so much for sharing!
Wow, what a fascinating bunch of imperfect holidays stories.
What an awesome dog,to have unwrapped all those gifts and made a Christmas celebration for herself.
I really want to know how you accidentally throughout those ornaments and did you ever find them in the garbage cans?
Thanks for sharing your really cool stories. It reminds me that perfect is only a mind thing and not a real thing. Not for us anyway.
Thanks for sharing with TGI Saturdays.
Nope, I never found those ornaments. They were probably in a bag I thought was garbage and threw them away :(. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment from TGI Saturdays.
Love this!! Your stories made me laugh. I can relate to several. This year, our Christmas card picture is not perfect at all. I could not get a decent photo of my 18 month old who doesn’t like to be still for a moment. So the picture is not perfect, but it is a true representation of him. I decided to embrace the imperfection!
Good for you Emily! I used to stress and take so many retakes trying to get the perfect picture. But after 4 kids it got too hard…and that’s when I just had to learn to let go. In fact, my cards turned into FB posts lol. Have a Merry Christmas!
I love this so much Valerie! I have been all about embracing the imperfect lately as I have seen how easily I seek perfection first. Such a battle for me! Thanks for the encouragement
I know how hard it is when mom has a “plan” and no one follows it ha ha. I’ve had to learn to let go of my plan and my perfectionistic tendencies too. It’s not always easy!
I love your post! While I’m contemplating how to be festive when you’re not feeling well (my latest blog post), I’m wishing I could add “reading funny blog posts” to the list of tips! This article brought a smile to my face. Thank you!! 🙂
Glad to have found you via the Purposeful Faith linkup.
Ha, ha…I’m so glad it made you smile Linda! I sure hope you feel better too. I think every kind of seasonal flu hit my family over the last month, so I know what you mean!
Valerie, I absolutely love this post. I was just looking at a friend’s Christmas tree hunting pics on FB the other day and thought, “How do they all look so pristine? We never look like that!” I think embracing imperfect is the perfect way to go. Have a beautifully imperfect Christmas!
Ha ha, yes…I have thought the same as I have gazed in wonderment at some of these beautiful, pristine Christmas pics. Was there some craziness before that great shot…or am I the only one who can’t get anyone to look at the camera? Merry Christmas!
Perfect memories only seem to last so long. It’s the unexpected, imperfect memories that become family heirloom stories. Oh how we love to laugh about all the crazy things that have happened!
So true Kristi! Those unexpected, sometimes sressful moments are the funniest ones to remember!
More people need to talk about the imperfect moments. When we were young, my mom put the wrong tags on everyone’s gifts so we opened each other’s. It was pretty funny! That’s what makes memories!
Yes Tara! I do wish more people would talk about the imperfect moments so we can all know that real is imperfect…but the Lord meets us there to help us find peace and allow His spirit to refine us so that our reactions can be filtered in grace.
This is such a great reminder! It’s good to think about the fact that Christmas is NEVER perfect and we all just need to embrace that. 🙂
Yes, so many times we set high expectations about what we feel Christmas should look like..but often times Christmas is about letting Christ be our peace in the middle of busy and not so perfectt. I’m so glad you stopped by!
It’s funny how the most imperfect moments make the best memories! I am trying to picture myself setting up a second tree only to have the lights go out on the second tree. It would not have been a good night at the Shackelford house. Ha! Thanks for linking through Faith Filled Friday.
Hi Jennifer! Yes, those imperfect (sometimes stress filled moments) are often our funniest memories! Thank you for reading my post at Faith Filled Friday!
I appreciate your authenticity. We have gotten a real tree every year except this year, we just can’t afford it. But it is such a fun a great tradition.
Yes, they are expensive Brianna! I hope you have a Merrry Christmas!
Oh Valerie, what a fun post and I do love your stories…The one did you ever throw away your gifts made me chuckle! But the message is real, we should so get rid of the expectations of perfection and enjoy the silliness and craziness more…I agree it’s the best way to create lovely memories! 🙂
Thank you for your kind comment Helen and for reading my blog. That means a lot to me!
We’ve never had a live tree before. We might try that this year. I love your authenticity and transparency in this post. Sometimes we’re so worried about things being perfect that we miss those special moments. What a great reminder to rethink that and thank God for each moment!
Thank you Jonathan. We enjoy getting a live tree each year. We got our at Home Depot this year. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!
Great reminder that a picture perfect Christmas season is NOT what we should be striving for in our lives. Time with family in an imperfect way is FAR more valuable.
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of our expectations. But when we stop and realize the true purpose of it all then we can let go and relax a bit. I’m so glad you stopped by!
I love this. REminds me of my #LetsBeRealTogether movement! This really is REAL life! Thanks for sharing all the imperfections of your Christmas season. Such a reminder that it’s not about decor or food or any of that, but about JESUS!
Thank you for your kind comment Caroline! I’m so glad that Jesus loves us despite our imperfections!
Love this! My grandmother always wanted a picture with my kid on Santa’s lap, don’t ask me why – so for her last Christmas I broke down and paid money to take my one year old to a private session to get a picture with Santa – wasn’t up for the mall lines…. and he screamed the whole time – I finally just told the photographer I was going to plop him down on Santa’s lap and wanted her take a picture, no matter what, and that picture was my grandma’s favorite screaming baby and all!
Funny! Those are my favorite Christmas pics too. The ones that aren’t perfect. The real life pics. So glad you stopped by.
I love this so much! I have a hard time letting go of my visions of perfect. Thanks for this reminder to embrace what’s if me!
Thank you Marian! I’m so glad you came by!
This was me last week. We went to put our angel on the tree and it didn’t work. Went to the store and wasn’t crazy about their choices. Bought one angel that was very pretty to get it home and realize it completely clashed with my tree decorations. Sigh. I made the perfectionist in me wait two days before I bought a cheap dollar store version that matches. The pretty angel is a nice decoration for my daughter’s room. I’m not good at embracing imperfection, but I’m working on it.
That’s funny. Thanks for sharing Jennifer. At least your daughter got a nice decoration for her room. 😉
OH this was wonderful! Not having your oven on and throwing out your presents. I laughed out loud. 🙂
It’s wonderful to have the memories, isn’t it? Even if you didn’t enjoy it at the time!
Ha Ha Emily, I’m glad it made you laugh!
Simultaneously smiling and grimacing here . . . memories! Thanks for this reminder that “perfect” should not be on the guest list for our Christmas celebration!
Ha ha…Michele I’m glad you stopped by!
Love this post! You are right that the imperfect years are the ones you and your family will remember forever. And, I also had a tree drop all of its needles less than a week before Christmas. We drug it outside (almost every needle was off by the time it hit the door, and piles of them were in my living room.) I went to the local store and bought the only artificial tree that they had, which was small and ugly and on sale for $10! and put about half of my ornaments on it, because that is all it would hold. Lol! Merry Christmas! (from #faithfilledfridays)
I love hearing these funny stories! Thank you for sharing and making me smile!