Wednesday, October 20, 2010

# christmas # family

Perfectionism and the Holidays

One of the big topics of conversation around my house right now is finances. Honestly, it's a word that strikes fear in my heart. With the holidays coming up, it terrifies me even more. We're still struggling. In fact, with the increases in the heating and electricity bills, we're struggling even more than we were a year ago. We're making it but in some ways, we're just barely making it. Making it even worse, we're looking at moving right around Christmas/New Years and the added expenses for that freak me out.

Those of you who know me know that Christmas is a huge deal for me. I spend months coming up with the perfect gifts for people. I work hard to make sure my boys have a perfect Christmas with me. I spend time thinking and deciding what dish I should take to the family dinner because I want to make the perfect choice. Ut-oh...Does anyone else see a pattern here? Perfectionism has snuck in yet again.

Here's reality. Life isn't perfect. Holidays will never be perfect no matter how little or how much money I have. Some silly thing will go wrong or one cousin will pick a fight with another cousin. Perhaps this year one child will suddenly realize that another gets more spent on them at grandma's house. Yep, that's life. It's reality. Life isn't perfect.

So why do I try so hard to make it be? It all goes back to being abandoned by my own parents and my fears that my children will somehow think I love them less because I went to Buffalo for two years or because I don't live with them now. I want them to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are the most important pieces of my life so I try to create this perfect environment for them at the holidays.

I know, even on a good financial year, that I will never be able to buy them everything that they want. However, this year, it's killing me to know that I might not be able to buy them anything. I have nieces and nephews who expect me to give them something really great and personal because I do every year. This year, they might not get that. With the move coming, I've already told my boys that we won't be decorating this year. They're ok with that because they understand the work involved. My youngest, heaven love him, was concerned that without them there wouldn't be presents. He was worried that maybe Santa (I swear he plays along for mom's sake.) won't know we're still celebrating without them. I reassured him that there would be so now I have to find a way to make that happen.

Will Christmas be the perfect event that I always try to push for? No and that's ok. Perfection shouldn't have ever been my goal, even subconsciously. What it will be is ours. It will be us, together as a family. We will still read The Night Before Christmas together on Christmas Eve. We will still put out milk and cookies for Santa. They will still have something to open on Christmas morning, even if it's not the huge stack of presents that every kid dreams about. Who knows, maybe after opening their presents we'll go out and have a snowball fight before we go to see our family.

What's important is that Christmas is about love and family and I am so blessed to have both in my life. My boys may not remember what they got for Christmas 2010 but they will remember that their mom loved them enough to bake cookies with them and to cuddle with them to watch classic Christmas cartoons before tucking them into bed. They're going to remember that I loved them enough to give them me.



Momstart said...

Stressing over the Holidays is very easy to do. I love to plan things for my house but I'm lucky we have no family in the area so we usually only have one family friend over at a time. Nothing gets out of hand. As far as gifts go, my husband usually goes out of control on that end

Wendy said...

What you focus on is what your children will focus on. If you stress about not being able to give them stuff, if you apologize for the less-than-huge pile of presents, they'll think that's what matters. If you point out how fortunate you are to have each other, how much you love "doing" with them, you could find yourself having the best Christmas ever in their eyes.

The "stuff" will break, become obsolete and be forgotten. The time with you lasts forever.

Anonymous said...

Wendy is sooo RIGHT! I couldn't recall for you one single gift I got for Christmas as a child right now. I have no idea! Can't remember! I like to focus on experiences (low cost or free) with my daughter. The fun of going out and picking out the perfect tree and having daddy cut it down. decorating the tree (without buying new ornaments), making cookies and taking them to surprise the elderly neighbors. little things. It really is what they will remember.

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