I know what you’re thinking. I know you think there is a screw loose. You didn’t redecorate the Christmas tree? Maybe there is a screw loose. I don’t really know.
Those of you who know me, also know that I am very particular about certain things… and the Christmas tree is number one on my list. Right next to centered, perfectly spaced things. But that’s for another day.
We got our tree last weekend (I’m lucky I held my husband off as long as I did since the day after Halloween, he was ready), the day after our travel back from Bangor for Thanksgiving where I spent about $137,554 on Black Friday Sales. But don’t worry, I saved about $30. But I digress, as usual.
Back to the tree.
Usually, as far back as I can remember, decorating the Christmas tree puts me in a bad mood… I can’t really explain why, holidays are supposed to be stress free, right?
I know, that was pretty funny. My best joke yet.
But seriously, I reminisce back to the past few Christmas tree decorating excursions and they all starts off innocent- with the lights. Then it all goes downhill from there. Actually, I take that back. It all starts with the fact that the hubs gets the wrong size tree and has to cut it. Also, I am not holding it still enough while he struggles to get those screws through the base. It’s not straight, so he fixes it. Makes it worse. You can probably imagine where it goes from here. We get the lights on. We realize that we put the wrong end at the top. Have to do them again. Plug them in. One string doesn’t work.
By then, we are sweaty, frustrated, and the kids can’t wait to put the decorations on. They are happy. I don’t like them being happy while I’m pissy. But I get over it.
Decoration time! By then I’ve poured a glass of wine (HAHAHAHA okay, my second glass of wine), so I approach it with a new attitude. I used to refuse to put decorations that did not match my theme on the tree or put on homemade decorations. Awful, I know, but I’m a work in progress. So, having to swallow my matching & spacing issues while the kids decorate was impossible. There was not enough wine in the world to stop me from getting all control-y and scary. I became demanding, commandeering, and no one’s ornament placement was good enough. There was not enough space between the balls, the big decorations had to be located just so, and the ugly decorations belonged in the back.
Can anyone relate? Or am I a total freak here? I know there has to at least be someone else who understands what I’m saying. Right? I hope so.
But this year was different.
The hubs and I got it upright and straight in record timing, the lights went up seamlessly, and when the tree was ready for decorations, I let my kids decorate it. I didn’t tell them where things go, I didn’t reorganize it when it was done, I didn’t change a thing. I sat there, relaxed in the heat and warmth of our front room and let them put things wherever they wanted. And I was happy.
We even took pictures in front of our haphazardly decorated tree (it will be on our Christmas Card for all to see!). The girl who used to need everything to appear perfect, the girl who used to feel the need to control the most insignificant things, the girl who was unhappy with anyone’s work but her own, let it go. (Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore!) Yes. I had an Elsa moment. My stained sweatpants didn’t turn into a lavish dress, I didn’t break out in song, I didn’t rise an ice castle out of the snow with my magical powers, but I let it go. I felt so good, and so empowered.
Now, I know what you are saying: There’s no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks that I would be able to let that happen. There’s no way I would relinquish the opportunity to perfectly decorate my tree! How did you do it, Claire?
My answer is simple: I just don’t look at it. Really. I have glanced at it and I still enjoy it when it’s all lit up at night; I just don’t look at it. That may not make sense to you, but it does to me.
To further my moment of holiday zen, I’m not over planning my daughter’s birthday party. Just a few friends, pizza and a movie. I may even just buy the cupcakes from the store. Because, in reality, I have spent too many of my minutes stressing out over crazy Pinterest ideas and creating the perfect birthday party. I will claim it’s for my kids, but they really don’t care that their cupcakes look like popcorn bowls for your circus theme (yes, I’ve actually done that). But it’s not for them. All they care is that you’ve piled that frosting high, it’s their favorite color, and they get gifts. All that other stuff is for show.
There, I said it. All of the crazy things we do as mothers are for show:
- The perfectly decorated tree.
- The matching Christmas wrapping paper.
- The meticulously clean house.
- The cake you made in the shape of Elsa (LET IT GO!!).
- The appetizers you’ve organized to look like Elmo.
- The crazy amount of food you provide for your gifts.
- The 6 hours you spent to make homemade confetti.
Don’t get me wrong, if we are doing things to save money, save time, save our kids’ health, etc., it’s worth the time. If it’s not for show but instead it’s for a reason, there’s a why. But if you are worried about how things appear, just stop. It’s not worth it. In the end of it all, do you want your kids looking back and remembering how you reordered their ornaments? Or that they were a huge part in the holiday decorations?
Now that I’ve been able to gain control of my health, wellness, and amour-propre, I have been able to let go of the minuscule things I used to feel the need to control. Yes, I still reorganize the dishwasher (to make for easier unloading and space for more dishes, obviously), but I have less need to become overworked or stressed over the little things. I am a work in progress and God will someday reward my husband for the patience he has shown me through my journey, but I am finally finding comfort in my own skin. I no longer fear others’ judgement- I no longer need to hold up a facade. And with that comes the ability to let things go.
This holiday season, just let the stress go: it’s not worth it. Much <3