Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Good Enough Christmas

I guess we all feel differently about the holidays.

My friend, Jessica, said a few weeks ago, "I was so excited. While I was driving, I found the Christmas station. It's not even Thanksgiving yet."
When I heard the Christmas station, I thought, "NO! Christmas station, go away! It's not time for you to make me feel guilty yet!"

I was talking to a family member, and she said, "I don't hate Christmas. I just feel hopeless about them."

That's exactly how I feel about Christmas.
It'll probably be a disaster.

You see, I can't decorate, can't make crafts, can't get a Christmas card out before Martin Luther King, Jr Day because I get myself all worked up that nothing is going to look right, which makes me so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start, so I wait until the last minute, and well, when you wait until the last minute to plan, nothing looks right (how's that for a run-on!). I end up feeling mean and crabby until January 2nd when the completely self-imposed pressure is off.

Last year, I realized this probably wasn't normal. I mean, why would the rest of the Christian world continually shift into over-drive year after year to get this holiday done if SOMEONE SOMEWHERE wasn't getting some pleasure from it.

So, for the holidays this year, I got myself a little therapy and have decided that I need to learn to buck up and enjoy the holidays (because really, there's no need to feel this way. My life is seriously, so blessed.) .

This year, our family is going to have a Good Enough Christmas. Things aren't going to be perfect; they're going to be good enough. And, we'll all enjoy it, darn it.

Here's how we've been celebrating our "Good Enough" holiday season:
1. This is one of our top 2 Christmas photos for the Christmas card. How did we pick the top 2? They're the only photos that have the kids looking in the same general direction.

Every year, I want a family picture with haircuts, new outfits, a professional photographer, and a killer background (um, I've never actually gotten all these things done, just wished I had). This year, after dinner one night, we dressed the kids in Sunday clothes, put on our pajamas, and took photos of just the kids because, well, they're the cutest of our bunch.

2. This is our grocery store pre-made, completely Good Enough Christmas gingerbread train.
Now, we have a Christmas tradition in the making (because we didn't have any before). I would have been so ornery if I had spent time baking the gingerbread, making the icing, and buying the candy because our Christmas train decorating night ended up consisting of me putting together the train while my toddler put candy in his mouth by the fistfuls, my preschooler poured colored sugar in his hand and licked it up over and over again all while my husband watched football.

3. While the tradition of picking out a real tree and having that pine smell is lovely, we're a fake tree family now.

In a dry climate, there is no other way. No needles to vacuum all season long. The tree is crooked, the ornaments are all discarded from our moms, and my kids have already broken 9 of them. But, it's up, and if you squint and turn your head a bit to the left, it looks more than Good Enough.

4. I even tried making a craft!
I never make crafts because I don't think they look good. This year, I've decided to make one just for the joy of making something...even if it's not done until February and it still won't look quite as good as anything many of my friends could whip up in an hour.

So, my experiment is going well, and we'll keep doing these Christmassy things. I've just changed my criteria. Instead of shooting for perfect, I'm just trying to enjoy what we're doing and not worry about the outcome.

Enjoying them makes them Good Enough, and I've been pleasantly surprised to find out that while we're doing things Good Enough, there are unexpected happy moments. And, it's in those moments that Christmas feels more than Good Enough. It feels happy.

What are your tricks for a Good Enough Christmas?


Nate said...

Woot! Look at that epic book of a post.

In all fairness, I was sick while you were doing the gingerbread train. Football just happened to be on while I was sick.

Brooke Peterson said...

Emily,I have always loved the holidays, and I have always loved good enough. The kids think good enough is exceptional. They have no idea what gingerbread houses are supposed to look like, they just like gingerbread houses. They don't care what the tree looks like, they just like the tree. They really don't care about the Christmas picture, that's something only moms want. You're more than good enough. xo Aunt Brooke

David and Jessica Clyde said...

Dave and I don't have a tree, or any crafts up in our house, and we definetly don't have Christmas pictures or Christmas cards, so you are light years ahead of us!! Can't wait to see you all! Less than a week!

Rachel said...

Love the post. Good enough holidays are the only way to go because you're the only one who knows they are just barely good enough:) And by the way in our family we have yet to establish a Christmas tradition, I'm thinking I'll work on that next year.

Hillery Ray said...

This year, there will be one less Peterson who dreads Christmas! I think the Good Enough Christmas is the way to go. Hope to see you soon!

Nuestra Familia said...

Love that picture of you with your boys, way cute! Your enchiladas at the cousin party were way delicious and everything was so great! You are awesome, your good enough is way great to me. Love ya