Sane for the Hollidays: Forget Perfection, choose delight

I have rules about the holidays. This isn’t because I think I am morally superior to anyone who goes all out, this is simply so I won’t drive myself crazy or throw us into bankruptcy. When Juliet was an infant and wouldn’t even notice if we got her anything at all, I cried because I was worried I wasn’t “doing it right.” I was afraid that my child who just wanted to put everything in her mouth didn’t have enough presents.

That was the year I took these hilarious and perfect pictures of her in her red cloth diaper socks and a Santa hat. Then I wrote a beautiful Christmas letter, and didn’t get it in the mail until March. Ooops. I felt awful, but my friends didn’t seem to  mind. They were actually mostly delighted to get a Christmas card in March.


But really who wouldn’t love to get this chubby face at any time? I felt like a total failure. I did not get my cards on time, I did not do it right, it was not perfect.

No one cared. Really. No one cared. Not even a little bit.

That next year I had another baby. We went to visit Santa. Juliet was not pleased. Priscilla was unclear about what was happening. I felt awful. Now, I giggle. This is perfect.


(You see how we had to bribe her with the sucker? My views about consent have evolved since then.)

The next year I wanted the perfect Christmas card photo. I booked professionals. Priscilla did this to her face two days before the shoot.



Rather than putting reindeer antlers on her and declaring her the family Rudolph, I found us coordinating outfits to wear at a friends outdoor November birthday party. I WOULD have the perfect Christmas card photo. I got this instead. I have blogged about it before, but really it is the perfect card for us that year (plus my hair looks really good.) It was crazy, things were crazy. Also, they were delightful.


I have mellowed out since then, mostly, but that is mostly thanks to the gift rules I implemented. Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. I didn’t invent it, but it works for us.

But this year I broke my rule. I had all the presents wrapped the day after Thanksgiving and then three days later something showed up in my email that I knew the girls would love, would just completely flip over. It was well within our budget. So I chose delight. Mine, and theirs. It isn’t exactly what I was planning or expecting. It means we have one more toy in the house (which I kind of rage against) but this year, this time, I am not second guessing. I am choosing delight.

Not just in the gifts, but in the extra swing I take around the neighborhood so the girls can see the lights, in the ditching of the complicated gingerbread house for the chocolate and sprinkle covered pretzel rods my girls can actually do, in the one simple story and advent chocolate every night. None of it is perfect, but all of it is delightful.






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