Keeping It Simple And Perfect

Now that the dust, pine needles, sugar high, gift tearing frenzy is over I can take time to applaud myself and say that the holiday I designed this year was perfect for me. Did I just say it was for me? Yes that is right. We design holidays for other people and what we imagine they want, when what we really should be doing is creating the holiday of our dreams. I have had many years where I have been in tears in my room crying by myself because things just were not “perfect.” One year I even went so far as to check into a hotel for a few days just so I could feel relaxed as I was too overwhelmed with making the perfect holiday.


Why do we do this to ourselves? It really is of our own doing. Our families are not demanding to have the Currier and Ives Christmas. Most holiday movies are of dysfunctional families trying to cope during the holidays. Those movies are more like the real deal than the Folgers commercial of Kevin coming home in the middle of the night and his family being all weepy over a cup of coffee. Most of us have the relative that makes us uncomfortable because of his racist or homophobic or political rants. Most of us are just trying to keep it together to make it through the holidays. Some are newly divorced and don’t have their children with them. Some have family that is serving overseas in the military. Some are dealing with the death of a loved one. Some have family that are in the hospital or dealing with a health crisis. Some are dealing with crippling depression. We all have something that we are dealing with.


So this year I gave up control. I gave up the picture in my head and just focused on what mattered. First things first: my holiday baking. I baked too much again this year, but I scaled way back. The only thing that matters to my family are the peanut butter balls and the roll out sugar cookies for me. All the rest I could have skipped doing. I had a cookie exchange with friends so I had a nice variety of other cookies. Even though I did less baking this year I could do even less next year. In all honesty I finished the peanut butter balls and roll out sugar cookies on Christmas Eve and they were perfect!


Timing: We all have our traditions but as my sons bring people into their lives I have to let go of when our family holiday is celebrated. When I was a divorce lawyer I would remind my clients that Christmas is just a day. Kids are fine celebrating any day of the year and we should too. I had to give up our traditional time and just go with the flow as my middle son celebrated with his girlfriend’s family.


Christmas Eve meal: I usually do elaborate appetizers and cook way too much food that nobody eats and I am sad that I wasted the time and money. So instead I went to Costco the day before Christmas Eve and focused on what people would actually eat that was already prepared and I could heat and serve. {Honestly it helped that I was under the weather and just didn’t have the energy to create anything over the top.} Barbeque shredded chicken on Hawaiian rolls and scallops wrapped in bacon and some crab cakes. I made just two appetizers, a lovely dried apricot with goat cheese, almond, thyme and a drizzle of honey was one appetizer and lettuce wraps were the other. Nobody missed anything and clean up and leftovers were a snap.


Christmas Day: Gone are the days of my boys waking up early to see what Santa left them. This year Santa made his stop after we woke up as he knew that the boys would sleep until noon. Next year, Santa may even skip our house and that is ok. I didn’t cook an elaborate breakfast and have us all gather around the table. Instead I cooked some simple egg bakes and relaxed and told the boys they could eat them when they were hungry. My husband and I then headed to the movies. I didn’t force them all to go with us. Only those that wanted to go went, and so it was just the two of us. When we got done with the movies we headed out for Chinese food at our favorite spot and invited the boys to join us. It was a perfect day. I was relaxed and everyone was happy.


So as I take time to reflect back on my perfect holiday, I focus on what I enjoy. I love playing games and watching holiday movies with my family, all which I have done this holiday. Fondue night is coming up as that is a family favorite of trying not to get burned over a pot of hot oil! I love creating my holiday cards and I love to decorate my pots outside of my house with greenery. I decorated my house very quickly this year with only the decorations that brought be joy and it took about two hours. Everything has now been taken down and put away and it took about an hour. I even donated some things that we didn’t use this year and I know we are not going to use next year. I don’t need to hold onto these holiday decorations and I don’t need to hold onto the idea of perfect Christmas because it doesn’t exist. We get to decide what the perfect Christmas is for us and that is the perfect Christmas and don’t let any commercial tell you otherwise. It is about spending time with our family doing what we love, so I challenge you to be a little selfish next year and make it all about you and what you love! Chances are it is not cooking in a kitchen but rather playing a game with the grandkids or reading them a story.


To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity



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