“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, jack frost nipping at your nose ….” The tree is glistening with fairy lights and beautiful baubles, carol singers at the door, the wine is flowing and the assembled company are all in good cheer – the perfect Christmas! Sadly, in my house this is a fantasy Christmas, one that I aspire to but never quite attain and like many perfectionists I put too much pressure on myself during the holiday season to achieve this vision.
The run up to this Christmas has particularly challenged my “perfectionist” tendencies as hubby announced he wanted to go to France for the week before the big day to do some routine maintenance on our house there. “No”, I cried, “too much to do here” I exclaimed, all to no avail! So I find myself writing this from the comfort of my sitting room overlooking the wonderful Auvergne countryside but no matter how beautiful and calming it is here I can’t help wondering what I am going home to on Thursday; especially as we have left our 18-year-old daughter back at the homestead on her own. With less than a week to go before Christmas Day arrives the worries are piling up on me:
- Will I need to do a huge clean so that the house is sparkling for our guests?
- Will I have time to do the food shop and cook everyone’s favourite foods?
- Will I be able to get the last minute presents that I have yet to buy?
- Are the Xmas decorations in-tact or have daughter’s friends marauded through the house?
I realise that I am fortunate enough for these things to be worries, when across the world the focus for many is staying safe and alive; my petty stresses are nothing in comparison. With this in mind along with the change in scenery, I have had the opportunity to take some time out from my schedule of everyday activities; space to reflect and look at the pre-Xmas planning with a different mind-set; here are a few things I have learned:
“Good enough” rather than “perfect” is my new mantra. Why do I need to do all the cooking? M&S do a fantastic range of goodies – so I have put my order in and will serve it up on Christmas Day in the knowledge that the food will be great and I will have spent more time than usual with my nearest and dearest
Collaborate rather than control: Normally I won’t let anyone near the act of decorating the main tree but this year I put that need for control aside; so hubby, the kids and I did it together. It took less time than usual and there was also the wonderful benefit of the four of us being in the same room, chatting away and catching up on all our news; a rarity for us now daughter has stared university.
Focus on relationships. Visitors come to see us not how clean the house is or if it is sufficiently festooned in tasteful decorations! So I am not going on a mad bleaching purge as I would normally do but will have a quick tidy up, turn down the lights (fairy lights hide a whole host of imperfections) and enjoy the guests who will invariably make their way across our threshold. We also often forget that Xmas is about being able to share quality time with those we love, so let’s enjoy their company and all the spontaneous, joyous moments that come our way
So for the Christensen family this Christmas will be a lot less of a Nat King Cole one and much more of a Slade – “It’s Christmaaaaaaas!” Not fantasy perfection but a lot more do-able and enjoyable – no stressed out Mother!
Whatever you and your families, friends and loved ones are doing over the festive season, we at Change Gear hope you have the Christmas that you really want, rather than the one you think you should have!
Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2017