A perfect Christmas?

My favourite month of the year is December – not only because of the obvious, huge event of Christmas for those of us who celebrate it, but also because of a month of anticipation, preparation, decoration and abundance of sparkly lights everywhere you look.  I love the sound of Christmas songs, traditional and contemporary, the feasts of festive food, the smell of baked treats and the excitement of my children, as they open the doors of their advent calendars.  As I spoke to one of my friends recently, we agreed that our children definitely are keeping the Christmas magic alive for us, but I also had to admit that, for whatever reason, Christmas had always been a special time of the year for me.  Be it because my birthday is close by, or that I’ve always had a thing for fantastic moments, I eagerly await the giddy excitement that starts in the last days of November and builds up when “Christmas Eve Eve” is close.  I feel lucky and blessed to be able to create a magical time for my children, put food on the table and buy them presents.  I know not everyone can do it.  I am realistic and appreciative of life’s little luxuries and have made more conscious choices recently, in order to avoid unnecessary spending or just getting the kids stuff for the sake of it.  I have no issues wrapping up a shower gel or socks and slippers they need, and have included second hand and pre-loved gifts, in order to do my bit for their appreciation for Christmas and receiving things.  We play lots of games and make sure we get to go outside for plenty of fresh air, to avoid an overload of sensory stimulation and to counteract the piece of chocolate they were allowed to eat before breakfast. Nevertheless, I find myself often stressed and on edge, especially in the days before and after the big day, wanting to ensure everything is perfect for my kids and the illusion of Santa is kept alive.  I know that, in the grand-scheme of things all that matters is that we are together, but my overexcitement always gets the better of, and then runs away with me, leaving me slightly overwhelmed after everything is over.  Maybe it’s my self-critical approach to everything I do, maybe it’s the sad and life-changing events that shaped my Christmas past (unlike Scrooge’s demons, mine were never able to attack my joy and love for Christmas).  Maybe it’s the curse of social media and the constant ‘in-your-face-perfection’ and ‘we-are-having-a-better-time-than-you’ posts that outweigh the more realistic photos that remain in the recycle bins of our phones.  Maybe it is just purely unrealistic to be happy and peaceful all the time.  Most of the time I find the bickering of my children amusing but on the third day of fighting over toys, food, the seat next to me or who gets a piggyback next, nerves can feel frail and my patience is running low.  However, in the somewhat overwhelming merging of days and hours, unstructured playtimes and one too many Christmas films and chocolates, there are so many perfect imperfect moments that I will cherish forever.  The red cheeks after our Christmas Day walk, the gusto with which my youngest stuffs veg into his little mouth, the giggles as they ride their rocking horses, the laughter as my boyfriend and I play quizzes instead of watching TV, and not to forget all the cheese we never eat the rest of the year but indulge that one night.  Christmas is never perfect in our home, no matter how hard I try every year.  I fail and I guess that’s OK.  Perfect doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t have to.  As long as there is love and laughter, caring and an appreciation for how lucky we are, then that is pretty awesome.  I’ll settle for that.

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