Christmas Checklists - Do's and Don'ts

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Hi, thanks for visiting.  If you are looking for real estate advice or comments, this post is not it :-)



I saw a posting on facebook from an amazing woman I know with 4 kids, 2 of whom are running fevers right now...






If you are a guy, you can click on to something more newsworthy, but ladies...can we talk? 

I am looking at holiday checklists on Pinterest...and they make me want to throw up.  It's going to be December 1 tomorrow, and there are more things on the lists than there are days in the month!  And it's probably more things to do than there are HOURS in the month.  I am looking at one list in particular, which has 32 items.  1 of the 32 is " Christmas Shopping", another is "Deep Clean House Before Guests and Festivities", another is  "Christmas Craft".  These aren't things to check off a list, they are journeys!

Who are they kidding?  Who are WE kidding?  Women have a tendency to make Christmas a high expectation/sleep deprivation event.  Like the photo I posted here, Christmas is supposed to be perfect.  I love perfect.  I OCD perfect, revel in it, dream it.  I have spent so many Christmases trying to score "perfect"...

The funny thing is, the IMPERFECT Christmases are the ones I remember the best, and the ones that make me smile now.  For instance...

One time we tried to get away from the craziness of Christmas and went to ski in Colorado when my 3 kids were 5, 12, and 15.  We rented a condo in a really quiet little town.  The perfect part was pulling up to the condo while it snowed and deer were nibbling on the bushes.  My 5 year old woke up and said "Look!  Reindeer!  We are at the North Pole!" in the sweetest little voice.  Perfect.  Before the week was out, we had hung the Christmas tree it took us 2 days to find by a rope over a drapery rod, where it sat proudly in a pot.  If you can't find a tree for days, you sure aren't going to find a tree stand. Not perfect, but functional.  On Christmas Eve, we had skied at Winter Park all day, and watched the employees all come down the hill with torches.  Perfect.  They had a Christmas Mass right there afterwards.  Perfect.  The only place we could find for dinner was a bar playing off color Christmas music with lots of beer choices but only burgers and chicken sandwiches...the 2 youngest kids played video games and were as happy as they could be.  The 15 year old crossed her arms, huffed "this is NOT Christmas!"  NOT perfect.  But she lived, and while lots of other Christmas memories are probably all jumbled up together for her, I know she will never forget that one.

I didn't do anything on the Holiday Checklist that year, but I remember the little "Reindeer!" voice in the back of the car, I remember my son barreling down the slopes with a wicked grin, and I remember learning that my oldest values traditions.  She has children of her own now, and I wonder if some Christmas soon she will think that trip wasn't so bad after all.  

Another Christmas long ago and far away was the one where my daughter and I had the flu.  All I remember is my husband coming and going, bringing home food and presents as he bravely went to all the extended family festivities. Not Perfect, but Quiet. And Nice.

This year I am probably in search of perfection again.  I'm stressed about some gifts for people I love but have no idea what to give them in 24 days.  I am thinking I blew my chance to get the lights up outside before the weather turns cold, and I am jealous of my neighbors who are ahead of the game on that. 

The definition of Christmas perfection has changed for me. I am aiming for a quiet, special moment or two to make sure the people I love really know how much I love them.  Doing a couple of really random acts of kindness will probably help me get over it if I don't get around to making a gingerbread house this year.  The internet is saving me from fighting for a parking space at a crowded mall. Now after a long day of work I can put on my slippers, pour a glass of wine, and find something special for some special people online.  Maybe while I listen to some carols. I can't wait to put the tree up, even as I dread taking it down.  Mostly I am going to be in the moments as they float (or fly!) by.

If your traditions are sucking the marrow from your bones, change them up. If this was the last Christmas you could spend on this earth, what would you do differently?  Do it.  

My wish for you this Christmas is that your perfect and your reality are in good alignment.  I wish you at least 1 quiet night in the dark with the Christmas tree all lit up and everyone else in the house sound asleep. Oh - and another glass of wine.