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Carol, It’s About Your Tree

I have a few friends on Facebook who were bragging about how — let’s be honest here — how much they loved their own Christmas decor. They shared an entire album dedicated to their tree. Yes, fifty different photos of their tree from various angles and at different times of the day so you could see it at dawn, at dusk, at night, and when the kids were in awkwardly matching PJ’s standing in front of the tree but mind you, it was at a very “safe distance”.

One of those friends commented, “This is the most perfect Christmas ever!!!”


And I was like, “Great Carol. Good for you guys. I just want to point out that it’s still November, we just threw out our pumpkin that squirrels were munching on, we buried a loved one on  Thanksgiving, there’s a very serious 3 year unfolding mess at my son’s school – note to self: someone’s teacher isn’t getting a gift this year, my husband is battling an illness that hasn’t been identified yet, I have muscle wasting in my upper back now and I only have one more pain infusion left to use up until May.  What else can I add here…family Christmas drama?”

We did put up our tree Carol.

Let the kid go wild with his decorating. He put all of his favorites in the front – all the cool kids hang on one limb – one big party of Star Wars and Scooby-Doo and Angry Birds characters. When we were done, Shawn noticed that half of the top strand wasn’t lit.

The very top Carol.

Of course we checked all the strands.

He flicked it to see if it would kick back on and it wouldn’t.

So we just plucked some bulbs from the back, moved to the front, and kind of twisted the tree into the corner so you wouldn’t notice the burnt out strand.

We had gone too far.

We call our tree:

“I’m fine”

This is not the finished tree – just my favourite capture of the night. I think when Shawn found another strand that was burnt out and lost his mind. Chunky, obviously loving every minute.

Look, I’m not judging your perfect tree Carol. It’s gorgeous. Take pride in the time you spent creating that magazine worthy masterpiece. If I was in a better mood, I still wouldn’t be able to put together a tree as wonderful as you do.

Our tree will always be loud and hideously nostalgic.

When I sit back with my tea or glass of wine, I want to look at my tree and think of love and not perfection. Life isn’t perfect. It’s not. I have to keep reminding myself this. Sometimes when I’m down in life and I scroll through my social media feeds and see perfection, I get that bitterness, that anger, that envy, that “Why are we getting crapped on all the time?”. I know that what people put out there is just a filtered snippet – a teeny tiny peek in their keyhole of life. We tend to only see the best of what people want to share. Not everyone wants to share the bad things they’re going through.

We all going through things at some point in our year – they may not be huge things but I bet that if you look back, you can recall something that made you go “Damn, I don’t want to do that again.” or “I’m glad that is over.”

So maybe in those perfectly white stockings with the gold trim you have hanging on your mantle, you’re hiding something really saucy Carol?

And if you are, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you’re going or had gone through something awful this year.

I’m glad that you find joy in things like decorating Christmas trees to absolute perfection.

I rage bake the hell out of things or craft or just awkwardly cry over Thanksgiving dinner and don’t recall it because I just decided to drink a lot afterwards to forget — but thank God for people who remind you that you did. They remind you.

They do.

Shawn. Thanks.

I want to say that November destroyed me but I’m still here. I’ll say that November chipped at me and I’m fumbling to gather the pieces – self, heart, and home. I say home because my dog ate 2 long hockey socks and 2 others which shocked his system. There is dog hair everywhere not to mention the ummm…vomit cleanup. Yes, he passed all socks and yes, he’s back to his normal old man self.

I wish there was a reset button for all of it.

No mistletoe required


How do you stay positive during the holidays when you’re just not feeling it?

PS. Cookie dough in tubs — I thought this would be a FANTASTIC idea for short cut Christmas baking so I supported a friend and her child’s local school and bought some. Turns out, when I’m not in a good mood, I just eat cookie dough. OUT. OF. THE. TUB. I am afraid of the person I become when I have a big spoon in my hand and I’m alone with the tub of dough.


**Carol is just a random name I picked out for the “few” people boasting on Facebook


  1. Rachel Rachel

    I love this! Sorry you’re having such a rough time! But at least you still have a sense of humor. 🙂 We use a lot of red wine to get us through the holidays! 😉

  2. There’s still pumpkins in front of my house and two on my table. I can fit the tree in Friday night. It will be hideously nostalgic and I hate putting it up. Tons of baggage from being raised by a dad who hated Christmas 🙂 I love you Kim. And I hate that your son is still dealing with teacher crap.

  3. So much love for you, I am sorry November shit on you so hard, it sucks. This time of year is really so hard. You just keep doing you. I think a tree full of love is better than a tree full of perfection. Love trumps perfection every time. And I’m sorry school is still so rough for your kiddo. I hope it gets better soon. And that Shawn is ok. Gah. All the love and good thoughts your way sweet friend.

  4. Kimberly, this is my first time visiting your blog and I’m glad I landed on this post! I love authenticity and real talk and perfect imperfection. Life is imperfect and my word, life is hard. You have almost made it through November. Here’s hoping December is a decidedly easier month for you and your family!

  5. I do hope December is a better month for you even if you aren’t feeling the holiday spirit the way others seem to be. I kind of love the name “Carol” as a placeholder for the perfect people. haha I love the Christmas season, but once it’s actually Christmas, I tend to get depressed so it’s not always the best time for me. I just try and do what I can when it comes to enjoying myself, and who cares about perfect? It’s overrated!


  6. I love this post. I’m definitely not a Carol. I’m sorry you’re going thru so much right now, but I love your sense of humor. We left our squirrel eaten pumpkin out so long last year, that some of it’s seeds must have composted, and we grew our very own pumpkin this year. Hee hee. We don’t even really decorate our tree because our twins destroy everything. Oh well.

  7. Yeah, no Carol here. Our tree has more lights burned out than ones that work and that’s the way it’s going to be. It’s been a rough few months in my world, too, and you will see no Christmas perfection from me. Like ever.
    I am so sorry you’ve had a pile of shit heaped on you. It sucks. It just does. I hope that the days ahead will be better ones. And if they aren’t? Grab your spoon and go for it. I would.

  8. Life is totally imperfect so why do people insist on posting pics on social media pretending it is?? My mind boggles. I’m certainly no Carol this year (or lets be honest most years) but plan to put the tree up sometime early December.

    I’m sorry that November was such a difficult month for you. Sorry for your loss and the stress over your husband’s illness and your back – you’ve got a lot going on and I hope that December is a better month for you and your family.

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