Embarrassing confession: I once spent over five hours on a Thanksgiving morning prepping and cutting pie dough into perfectly shaped and baked leaves. I “needed” them to put as décor next to every bowl of homemade cranberry sauce. Meanwhile, the rest of my family went for a hike together and watched football games cozily on the couch. My shoulders ached from maniacally cutting pie dough.
I was so gripped with Martha Stewartness, my shoulders ached from cutting all that damn pie dough.
As soon as the clocked ticked 3:00 pm, I snapped. I can't remember what triggered me to yell at my mom about "interfering with my decorating but my mom and I both left the kitchen in tears that Thanksgiving day. (And THAT memory sticks.)
Looking back, I’m sad that I wasted precious time with my family chasing after my illusion of Norman Rockwellian perfection. But I’m also proud that I’ve matured enough to realize that store bought cranberry sauce without any added decorations can be just fine.
It’s an important reminder for us all. No matter what Martha says, it’s not the perfection of our decor, meals or attire that will create lasting memories. Fortunately, my mom had a better attitude than me that day and she seemed to quickly forget my ridiculousness. But please learn from my mistake and keep this lesson in mind in the upcoming weeks:
Whatever your grand plans and visions for this holiday season, if you must sacrifice perfection in order to enjoy the moments more, by all means please do so. For your self, your visiting relatives, and your children…who follow your lead every step of the way.
Over 21% of teenagers aged 13 to 18 experience anxiety disorders related to feelings of pressure to succeed. In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, over 80% of respondents reported money and the economy as major stressors, and our children feel the emotional strain of our current economic climate as well.
Things may not be perfect but they’re probably good enough. Yes, it would have been really nice if you made pies from scratch but I bet no one will complain if you buy them from the local baker (and he’s thrilled to have you supporting his business).
Yes, it’s probably true that your Great Aunt Betty is not an easy houseguest, but when she’s gone, you’ll miss her. Ignore the Guerlain red lipstick on your new duvet.
Yes, it would be really cool if you could fit into the dress you bought last winter hoping to lose weight in time for this winter. I know you know though, that your family and friends will think you look fabulous in whatever you wear because they love you. Of course your mom might suggest you shape up a bit but guess what, she’s not perfect either. Laugh it off.
Let’s show our kids that good enough can be great, especially when it comes to the holidays. Things are tough out there right now! Let’s use the holidays to enjoy what we do have instead of bemoaning what we don’t.
Let us teach our children that relationship is more important than accomplishment. That working through those family dynamics that arise every holiday season is a more valuable lesson than anything. Certainly way more important than perfectly baked pie leaves.
There’s just no getting around that our kids are going to want the perfect gift, but let us teach our children to give gifts thoughtfully. We should teach them to look for ingredients that do not pollute our environment or harm other children around the world. We should teach them that the greatest gifts make us all the richer and that it’s not an Either-Or.
Let us celebrate the holidays! And let’s all agree that the celebration is not about the perfect tree or the perfect party, but the happy moments we share with those we love.
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