This post was probably re-started six times. And as I looked at the blank computer screen on yet another day, it finally dawned on me. As with all things in my life, I am being way too much of a perfectionist. And in this particular situation, it couldn't be more ironic. How do I write a post on easing up on holiday stress when I'm putting pressure on myself to write the perfect blog post? Ha!
At this moment, I look at my holiday cards and address labels piled on the hassock in the family room. Just yesterday, I was analyzing those cards, debating whether or not to re-order them. Isn't the color a little off? Should I have chosen a different photo? Do I have time to re-order them and still mail them before Christmas? The answer is no, I don't. But then I did anyway. What's wrong with me? Why do I always put so much pressure on myself? Does everything have to be the best? The most perfect? The most thoughtful?
Aaah, perfectionism. The downfall of the holiday season.
Being a perfectionist has its benefits. We have a perfect Christmas tree. My husband, having a very similar personality, spent an entire Sunday wrapping lights around the branches, and we spent the better part of an hour hanging ornaments. We had to be very careful not to put two of the same color next to each other so the tree would be well balanced and proportioned. The tree is colorful and sparkly and sits right in the middle of our front window; a truly beautiful decoration.
The secret is that the tree is not real. It's a fake. And the perfectionist in me feels like we're cheating. Shouldn't we have to deal with the extra chores that come with housing a real tree for three weeks? Aren't we taking the easy way out by decorating a plastic tree? And really, what I want to ask is this: Is it okay to just enjoy the fun stuff and ignore the 'chore' part of the holiday season? I'm in the process of convincing myself that it is.
This year we're extra busy. We may not even get around to putting up lights outside. Instead we're opting to spend the free time with friends, with family and with our son. Our holiday may not be storybook perfect, our holiday card may not be exactly as I pictured, but perfection isn't everything, I keep telling myself.
And I do just love our tree. The ornaments are rare and special; they are the tales of our imperfect life together. And if our life isn't perfect, why does our tree have to be? This is our tree, and it represents our imperfect, but beautiful life.