Well, I simply decided not to. I accepted that my house would not look perfect. I opted for projector lights for outside instead of putting my husband to task creating a grand (and impressive) light display. I simplified all the meals. I patted myself on the back for getting my tree and nativity up (and let go of the need to pull out all the decorations and my very many ornaments). I left the countertop a little messy and chose to focus on what really mattered. What, indeed, was that? If not creating the perfect Norman Rockwell scene, what actually mattered?
The PEOPLE. We sat in pjs, watched movies, read books to our granddaughter, played with the rubber ducky nativity. We may have built a fire, I don't remember. If anyone had hot chocolate, they made it themselves. We face timed with our other granddaughter who, at only 9 months old, was in the hospital. We gave thanks, abundant and genuine thanks, for her release from the hospital on Christmas Day (no surgery needed! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻). My scenes weren't necessarily photo worthy, but there were some good ones - if they were well cropped. My food tasted good even if it wasn't as fancy as normal. I didn't give the most meaningful or impressive gifts, but my family seemed grateful. The Christmas cards were never even bought this year, but I told people I love them. My business Open House never happened. I went to bed in tears Christmas Eve worrying about my granddaughters - I told you one was in the hospital, the other was spiking a pretty good fever.
BUT, and do not miss this, I felt closer to Jesus than I have in a while. I felt the love of my imperfect family and my slightly imperfect husband (he's pretty close to perfect). I was able to have 2 of my 3 sets of kids with me. And while it was sad that Army life created some tough choices for one son and his wife, I was glad to have him stay with us while she went to Texas. I spent my days in the living room playing and listening instead of off in the kitchen trying to be Martha Stewart. I enjoyed Christmas. I wasn't numb. Sometimes I was sad and that's ok. I found the perfection right in the middle and actually, because of the imperfection. I started on a mission to help others find more joy and less stress during this season and was fully blessed by it myself. Glory Hallelujah! I found the time to sit and imagine the sights, sounds and smells of the manger scene. I won't be on the cover of any magazine, but I did get to watch an incredible sunset as we sat down for dinner. And my centerpiece of pine cones, carefully collected and scented with essential oils a week before, may have smelled like floor cleaner they came in contact with during the curing. Sigh. No, it wasn't perfect, not at all, but it was gloriously imperfect and it was beautiful.