Barefoot by the Sea: Fantasy vs Reality at Christmas

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fantasy vs Reality at Christmas

Less than one week to go and we can definitely feel the excitement building around here! My girls are giddy! There are a lot of fun traditions and times to look forward to as we approach these final days before Christmas.  I was in volunteering at school yesterday and could literally see the children bouncing off the walls, full of joy and excitement and if I'm being honest here, in need of a good sprint or five around school to burn off some of that excitement!  That being said, there is still a lot to do!  I've been trying hard to get into the spirit of the season and I just wanted to touch on that today.

I think people sometimes have an idea of what the "perfect Christmas" should be like. This of course, includes but certainly isn't limited to… Children perfectly dressed in their festive ensembles, holding hands or playing quietly by the lights of the Christmas tree, smells of delicious food being lovingly prepared by a mother who is not only beautifully dressed but is also relaxed and smiling.  Presents are neatly wrapped aka Martha Stewart, with coordinating gift tags and paper allocated to each recipient, handmade hors d'oeuvres and beverages to carry you through the busy week of Christmas right through the new year.  Did I mention in this fantasy, everyone gets along splendidly? There is no arguing, no family grudges, sisters, aunts and mother-in-law's fill the kitchen with laughter and the ease.  I could go on and on but unfortunately, at least for my family, this picture is not my reality and until we let that go, I don't think you can really enjoy what Christmas is truly about.  The perfect holiday can be loud, unorganized (as in flying by the seat of my pants to finish up the last of my holiday shopping) and running to the grocery store for the 5th time because I forgot that "one last item".  This is the time of year when my quest to create the perfect Pinterest recipes lead me to dumping flour all over the kitchen or forgetting a key ingredient. This time of year brings extra stress to so many to try to create that "perfect Christmas" and extra sadness to those who are not able to provide or to those who have lost loved ones.  It can be a challenging time and a stressful time.

One of the things I try to focus on is reality vs fantasy. I'm talking about living in your situation with what you have,  truly remembering what is important to YOU. If you make yourself happy first then you have the tendency to make those around you happy as well. If you are stressed out and trying to accommodate every person you know, that will likely make you more unhappy and reflect that feeling onto others. It's okay to say no this time year, it's okay not to attend every single Christmas party you're invited to and to order pizza on the night you have to make six dozen sugar cookies for your kids class. Along those same lines, it's okay not to contribute to every single donation or feel bad when you decline.  It is so important to give and have compassion but sometimes we are giving out of obligation and not desire. Sometimes you just can't do it and that's okay.  That's what makes you human. Life happens!  We need to cut ourselves some slack!  Further, we need to support one another and not judge. Believe me, it's so hard not to get wrapped up in it all. This reminder helps me as well when I start to get carried away with the madness of it all. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this time of year but gentle reminders go a long way especially as we approach the final days before Christmas.  This is the time of year to support one another and give ourselves a break, realize that your holiday will likely be fantastic because it's filled with your family, your traditions and most importantly the love that you share. Take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time if you have to. When the stress starts to build simply take a deep breath and LET IT GO!

Lastly, enjoy the chaos of your holiday because in my mind, that is what my "perfect Christmas" has become. My perfect Christmas includes family, laughter and lots of love. Who cares if my kids stay in their pajamas for the week?


  1. We never have a picture perfect holiday but it's always perfect to me! Great post! Merry Christmas!!

    1. I agree! I think that's the best philosophy to have :-)


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