banishing the picture perfect Christmas

These are the stories of the not-so-picture perfect Christmas.

Real family stories happen in the thick of Christmas too.

Five minutes before we left for Christmas Eve service, all spiffed up in our best, we pulled the sofa table away from our new custom sofa to grab a family pic before heading out the door.

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What to my wondering eyes did I behold! (All of us beheld it in one communal gasp…) four black permanent marker letters stamped into the backside of the just unpackaged custom sofa…ZMZZ… WHAT!!!!>??!!

Earlier that afternoon, our son was upset with us. The evidence he was angry was right there in thick black squiggles.

You know when you go into that place where you’re caught between emotions? You’re so flustered, taken aback, ticked, that you don’t know what the best reaction would be? Well, that’s where I was at that moment. I wanted to kick and scream but knew that kicking screaming would not right the wrong and it was weird to feel angry when I was daydreaming about sugar plum fairies.

My husband put his hands on my shoulders and told me to take a deep breath. “Keep it together. We’ll figure it out when we get back.”

Most of those squiggles were cleaned up with upholstery cleaner after the service. But first I learned to sing Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright with fiery frustration in my heart.

Not everyone wants to share the same Christmas traditions.

I am fond of those old black and white flicks at Christmas time…Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol. My family is not into those movies. “Why are you watching a movie without colour?” or I’ve heard, “Can we get the coloured version, Mom?” Of course that’s part of the charm for me.

When it’s just me and myself in the seniors’ home, I’ll remember that I’ve had this black n white Christmas film fascination for decades: Christmas traditions with myself.

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Not everyone shares the Christmas spirit.

Our neighbours were good friends to our kiddos. They came out to play every time our kids were outside. Max and Stella were their names. So it was fitting that the kids befit their friends with a Christmas gift. They hot glued gems and sparkles and acorns onto wide bands of red and green ribbons, creating collars for their canine friends. The kids had a blast and brought them over to the dog owner’s home. When Max and Stella’s owners came to the door, the neighbours weren’t excited. Though the neighbour obliged the kids in attempting to attach one of the collars to Max, the neighbour abruptly shut the door behind them. The Christmas spirit is not found everywhere, but we’ll still going to practice it anyway.

Christmas perfection is found only in a Norman Rockwell picture.

Yet, wonderful Christmas moments still abound. Dreamy, leisurely Christmas days in PJs and happily occupied children whilst enjoying mulled wine and a book with Charlie Brown Christmas cd playing in the background. Every day, every moment won’t be Christmas snow globe utopia. All of our hopes and dreams won’t come to fruition.

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But let’s set our intention to enjoy the not-so-perfect Christmas memories that we can enjoy when we decide that pretty darn good is good enough.