Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's not perfect....

In the way of so many of us, I tend to obsess about Christmas. About making it just the perfect blend of family traditions and “us.” About spending QUALITY time together. About doing things the “right” way—cookies from scratch, punch in the percolator, beautifully wrapped gifts with bows “just so.” You get the gist of it, right?
I’m a first born and female. Oh…and a Scorpio (if you buy into that stuff). Toss that in a salad bowl and you get a rules-oriented perfectionist--who just happens to live in a large, busy (read “chaotic”) household. Not always a comfortable fit for me, but mostly, I’ve adapted to my surroundings and I thrive in the Zoo Crew Zone.
Except at the holidays.
Now, I’ve never aspired to a perfectly symmetrical Christmas tree thematically decorated with lights & tinsel perfectly spaced. I love our crazy family trees, selected with quite serious care (but strikingly different, random criteria) by Zoo Crew inhabitants and decorated enthusiastically by those same creatures. No two years will our trees ever look the same…and I’m good with that. But I DO like to inject a little tradition into the moments when we decorate the tree…Daddy always puts the seashell ornament we received as a wedding present on the tree. Mommy always places Santa & his Sleigh toward the top. And every child receives a new ornament to add to their growing collections that will move onward and outward when it’s time. And I like to remind the kids where some of our special ornaments came from or when they came to us.
Sometimes said children don’t seem to respect these tiny traditions. Or chaos breaks out with a mob at the ornament box. Things break. Feelings get hurt—usually mine.
You should know that both chaos and breakage are no strangers to my household. But why can I deal with it more calmly at other times? Why do I cry at Christmas?
This weekend, as we were muddling through a strange Saturday morning and preparing to decorate our tree, we watched the movie Santa Clause 3. Toward the end of the movie, Santa says “You know, you don’t have to be perfect to be a family…you just have to be together.”
I think I’m going to focus on the togetherness and try harder not to aim for near-perfection.