Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Know When to Stop Trying to Have the Perfect Christmas (a talk to myself)

So today I had my annual mid December Christmas meltdown.  It happens every year.  I've just never let on to anyone but Scott and maybe a friend or two.

Today it was in my bathroom.  I went in to take a shower and noticed that the tissue box that was sitting there was empty.  The toilet paper thingy that usually holds the toilet paper was empty.  And my pretty little basket that holds the "back up toilet paper"... well she was empty too.

I know that's little.  But it did me in.  I threw my Christmas list down the toilet (so to speak), rolled up my sleeves, and scrubbed not one bathroom but all three until they were shiny clean.  Sparkling.  And then I moved on to our furniture.  The wax came out, I scrubbed the molding on my hands and knees, and then I looked at the clock.  It was time to head to the girls school.  Fine, you think.  Problem was I didn't or didn't even feel capable of doing one thing on my Christmas list.

I know what I should have been doing.  There were gifts I was going to order, I wanted to start wrapping, write out the cookies I wanted to make with the girls, and on and on it went.  And all I did was clean.

Last year it hit me in the post office when I decided that I hated my purse and that it was no longer functionalble so I just had to go to Marshalls to find a new one.

I called Scott almost in tears today.  Not because the bathrooms were sparkling clean but because I was completely Christmas overwhelmed.  He calmed me down as he usually does each December but every year I don't want to resort to that.  You know, that desperate call to my husband at work.  I want to do it all and do it all perfectly.  And then came my Christmas breakdown when I realize I can't.

There are a few things that get me through these days.  One is so simple.  It's something my mother said to me years and years and years ago.  I must have been overwhelmed (in college maybe) and I had this HUGE O list in front of me.  She simply said, "just pick one thing off of the list and do it"  Whenever I remember that I feel more calm.  Duh... pick one thing and do it.  We're all so good at multitasking these days.  Especially in December.  But when the list is too long and I'm feeling like I'd rather go clean toilets I know that I'm sinking.  It's time to just pick one thing and do it.

And here are a few others I've heard along the way that help me this time of year.  Stop taking pictures.  You heard me right.  Stop taking pictures.  Sometimes I focus (get it?) so much on capturing the moment that I loose the moment.  Ya'll know what I mean?  When I'm feeling frazzled in this season and I put my camera down (oh yea it's hard for me) I still hear the same sister giggles that I used to when the camera was in my hands but I can take a slow breath, close my eyes and praise God for the giggles.

One more that helps me along the way.  If I ever mutter under my breath or think in my head, "oh I wish it was January.  I wish this was all done."  Then I've gone too far this season into the land of Tara Perfectionism.  It's a huge red flag for me if I want January to be here.  First of all who likes January?  And second of all isn't the fun in doing it all?  Not just HAVING it all done but actually doning it?  I'm reminded of that when I read a text from a friend today.  It was a picture text of the perfect book she found for her daughters.  And she was overjoyed that she found that gift.  (yes, I could hear the excitement in her text)  and it dawned on me. It wasn't just checking that gift off of her list it was in finding it.  That was the joy. So if I'm not finding that joy then I'm doing too much and I have to force myself to slow down.

So what if the cards have yet to be mailed?  What could happen?  And the gifts around the tree... well they always get there.  And usually way too many anyway.  So there ya go.  I've had my Christmas meltdown.  Now onward for some fun!

And just because I can't have a just words post... a little clip from one of Anna's lessons this week.  Hearing her play this?   All is right with the world again.


  1. Wise decision…marking one thing at a time off of your list. I'd go as far to say, eliminate some things off of the list because you know, Christmas is going to happen…no matter what. Christ will come again on Christmas day and nothing can stop him. Take a deep breath, drink a cup of hot tea, and focus on "one thing at a time". Have a blessed Sunday!

  2. I can so relate to this post! Going back to work I feel so far behind on everything! 9 days till Christmas and I'm not done shopping for my girls!! Seriously stressed. Sometimes doing 1 thing on our list can be easier said then done, lol. I'm glad you are finding balance :-) Take care and remember to breathe my friend!