Every year, time seems to go faster and before you know it, the holidays have already come and gone. Christmas especially seems to become more and more sneaky. I often think about when I was in elementary school and it felt like you spent three months preparing for Christmas and it couldn’t ever come soon enough.
I’ve had a few years when I feel like it comes so fast that I didn’t really ever feel like I got into the whole holiday spirit. I feel like I’m not the only one, and I feel like the concept is expressed in the song “White Christmas” when it expresses a longing for a special kind of Christmas like what came from memories. My holiday season doesn’t ever feel like a hallmark movie. But my memories of Christmas seem so perfect.
I have an aunt who told a story about an early year of marriage, when they went and cut down their own Christmas tree. But as she began to decorate it, she discovered that the tree wasn’t as nice as she thought. So the tree was given away and they went out for another tree. She assured her husband that the tree was perfect and she loved it. But as she was decorating, she noticed holes where the tree wasn’t as full as she thought it should be. So the tree was given away and she bought a tree from a tree farm. Her husband then got her an artificial tree that she gets to use ever since.
We expect perfection sometimes, to match our perfect memories. But I don’t think the past reality is ever as perfect as our memories. I think every year is as crazy and imperfect as the last, but we choose to remember the especially good parts. Perfect trees look fake, and real trees are imperfect. I think it’s the same for our hallmark holidays. We get real Christmases when there is a lot going on and extra stress, but good intentions and exciting moments.
Loving the little moments and embracing the imperfections makes a perfect Christmas. There are never perfect holidays. Even in the movies, something goes awfully wrong or someone is a Scrooge. But everything turns out alright, even if the tree looks like Charlie Brown’s or Christmas presents are delivered late. At the end of it all, there are still magical moments and good feelings. Like the Grinch discovers in the Christmas story, that the season is about something more.