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:
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.
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.
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