Every year during this time, I turn into Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation: I go a little crazy.
I don’t mean to do so.
Each year, I tell myself that I am not going to lose my shit this year. However, it happens. It even happened those years B.C. (before child) where I did not even bother to buy a Christmas tree.
The reason why I lose it is pretty simple: I feel like I should be doing more. I want the perfect Christmas that I never had a child. Even when I am rolling my eyes or typing out a snarky post about the commercialization on my iPhone whilst waiting in line behind customers who are buying holiday presents, I still want that. I daydream about waking up on Christmas morning with the house smelling of cinnamon and freshly-baked gingerbread and watching my daughter unwrap presents beneath the perfect Christmas tree. Afterwards, I prepare the perfect Christmas lunch, and the day is spend with family and friends.
Needless to say, this never happens. Like everything else in life, the best laid plans often go astray. One year, my perfect meal was ruined when my attempts to bake gingerbread nearly resulted in me burning down the house. Another year, gifts that I ordered online and were suppose to arrive on Christmas Eve did not arrive until a week later.
Usually in my day-to-day life, I would laugh off such things. You also would not find me obsessing over decorations either as I tend to be a minimalist. Frankly, I don’t even like to entertain or be around a large groups. However, like many people, I get caught up in the holiday season and the “I should” and “I must” becomes too much to resist.
This year, I am taking a different approach to the holidays: rather than strive for perfection, I am embracing the chaos. I am taking back the holiday season and reflecting on how I celebrate the way my life is rather than what I believe others think it should be.
I am the first to admit that chaos rules my every day life. Walk into my home or live my life for a day, and you’ll see that order is not running the show. I seldom make plans. Even when my daughter was a baby, I was not the mother who planned out each day and had the perfectly packed diaper bag with the extra outfits, pre-sliced fruits & veggies, etc. In general my motto tends to be “go with the flow” and “life is a journey not a race”. Therefore, why should the holiday season turn my life around and why should I attempt to be something I am not?
It does not make sense.
This year, I will celebrate Christmas in my own way. It may not be everyone’s approach, but that is okay. Other than opening gifts and watching Christmas Vacation, I have no other set plans. I may have some friends stop by throughout the day, but I am not preparing the elaborate Christmas feast. Instead, sandwiches and cups of tea are the order of the day.
Perhaps I may try baking gingerbread again, but if it burns then so be it. As long as I do not burn the house down, I will be okay.
So, to paraphrase that sage Clark Griswold, if you stop by my house this season, you may not find perfection, but you will find the jolliest bunch of eccentrics on this side of the nuthouse.
And after all, isn’t that what the holiday season really is all about?
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: ListenToOurLights via Flickr