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The Quest For the Perfect Holiday

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Women Living Well Blog: The Quest For the Perfect Holiday

Women Living Well Blog

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Quest For the Perfect Holiday

We were newlyweds. I had never cut down a real Christmas tree so when Keith suggested that we cut one down it sounded exciting! I was gung-ho ready to go in my pretty boots, pretty coat, and fancy matching gloves, scarf and ear muffs.

We drove to the tree farm and I hopped out of the car ready to go in search of the perfect tree. Wow - they were all so gorgeous - I found the perfect one within 15 minutes. So I declared "this is it!" I was smiling ear to ear just dreaming of this tree in our house. What a delight! My husband pulled out his measuring tape, measured it, "too short". Bummer.

5 minutes later I found the one! "This is it!" Again Keith began to measure - this time it had a crooked base. Bummer. "Well, how about this one?" "No" he answered, "that one has a nasty bare spot." "We can turn it to the corner" I suggest. "No." We walk on... and on....and on - an hour passes.

We come to a muddy spot and I'm a little annoyed to step my pretty boot into the muddy spot but I do - but not without grumbling. I suggest another tree - and again - it's not the right one. Now I'm starting to feel irritated, cold and deflated...we walk on...and we continue the cycle - I suggest a tree, he finds the flaw.

Keith decides that the type of trees in our section were the wrong type of tree - he preferred the Douglas Firs which were way over the hill and very far from the car but we went....went in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

We walk and walk and walk and finally Keith finds the suitable tree! It's the right height, has the right base, no bare spots and he tells me "stand by it" while he goes to check and see if there are any better ones a few rows over.

So, there I stood...tick tock tick's now been nearly three hours looking for the perfect tree. Suddenly out of no where - a ferocious barking dog appeared and my husband was NO where in sight. I left the tree in search of my hubby. When I found him my patience was long gone, I was practically in tears and I said "honey, there is no such thing as a perfect tree - just pick one - I want to go home."

Poor guy. He truly wanted to pick the perfect tree for me. He was willing to tramp around in the freezing cold to find the perfect one to adorn our home. But what he didn't realize was that I wasn't looking for the perfect tree. It was the moment itself that was so exciting! Being outdoors with my husband cutting down a tree and dragging it home was the memorable moment I was hoping to make. But in his quest for perfection the dreamy moment was ruined.

Are you as wives and mothers trying to create the perfect holiday for your family? Are you stressed over trying to figure out how to make it perfect, memorable, special, meaningful and more. STOP. You might just ruin it for everyone if you are too focused on the details and missing the whole point of the actual experience together.

The holidays are a special time to make memories. The memories don't have to be perfect or grand. Actually, the memories I seem to remember from childhood are the ones where everything went wrong and now we laugh about it! It's the tradition of being together year after year that builds security and love within the family.

Typically, women plan most of the events on the calendar for the holidays. Have you asked your husband what he wants his holiday to be like? Maybe he wants it to be restful and go no where and you want to have a revolving door of people over. This is going to cause friction.
Communication is key. Find out what his expectations are and share with him some of your expectations. Had I realized when we went looking for a Christmas tree that it would take 3 hours to find the tree and I needed to wear old grubby clothes - my expectations would have been set and I could have enjoyed my time picking the Christmas tree. But instead, I expected to find it quickly and be on our merry way! My expectations for Christmas tree shopping have officially changed because this is how my husband enjoys shopping for a tree.

Let your quest for perfection go. Thanksgiving should be a simple holiday. Give your children more than a memory of a frazzled mom who had a perfectly set table and meal. Give them the memory of giving thanks. There are many ways you can do this:

1. Make a thankful chain and have everyone write on slips of paper things they are thankful for and hang the chain as decoration.

2. Go around the table and focus on each person. Have others share 2-3 things they are thankful for in that person.

3. Put out a jar and encourage your family to put in slips of paper with things they are thankful for all week long. When Thursday comes pull the pieces of paper out and read them together. Pray and give thanks.

4. Do a word study in the Bible on the word "thanks". Read these verses out loud together.

5. Read George Washington's or Abraham Lincoln's Proclamations of Thanksgiving.

6. Sing praises together to the Lord.

Ps. 34:3 "O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together."
Walk with the King!

I am linking up here :



Blogger Bev said...

I love this, wish I'd known it 25 years ago when ours were little. But late is better than never, and even now I'm blessed to know that perfect gifts, perfect Christmas letters, perfectly baked pies, etc. don't matter a whit. Rather gifts and Christmas letters and pies, etc., all done with love, are what will make for wonderful memories years later. After 30 years of marriage we gave our pre-lit tree to our oldest daughter for her family, and are going back to a real tree. Should be fun picking it out together, as long as we remember it's the memories we're making that really count!

November 21, 2010 at 10:45 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

I can relate to the Christmas tree cutting down. It is so much fun, especially if you are dressed for it and not in a rush. LOL.
Thanks for the links. I printed them out and plan on reading them to my children.

November 21, 2010 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger momstheword said...

I have always just wanted to find a tree and go, I'm not picky. But, as you said, it had to be the right size (or cut it down) and stuff like that.

However, you are a trooper for doing three hours. Fifteen minutes is long enough for me.

Love how you used the story to illustrate your point! I have a friend that gets really stressed out when things aren't perfect for her kids.

Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

November 22, 2010 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger A Little R&R said...

Wow! This is such a great post! I must admit that I needed to read this - especially about communicating with my husband about HIS desire for the holiday. We come from two vastly different cultures. He was raised under communism so Christmas was mostly about eating and sweets - little to no emphasis was placed on gifts - and only since Christianity was allowed to be openly celebrated has Christmas, in this country, taken on more of a so-called "western" flavor. I, on the other hand, being raised in America, celebrate Christmas with the gung-ho of an entire neighborhood combined. The lights, tree, decorations, music, sweets, gifts - you name it - I can go WAAAAY over the top with it all. :o) He doesn't understand my passion for the holiday and I don't understand his lack of it.

But I also want to say that it doesn't cause conflict or even disappointment in either of us. We accept each others views and cultural differences. He kindly allows me to be obnoxious about Christmas and I have understanding as to why he thinks I am obnoxious. lol!!!

But, now that we have a child, I would like to start creating some of our own special traditions - and your post is just what I needed to read to begin creating a sense of unity and oneness. Thank you so much!!!

November 22, 2010 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Huse Clifton said...

It is so true I fall in to the idealistic dream world of the perfect holidays too. I can't wait to read the presidents proclamations.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2010 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger Darlene Schacht said...

I love the photo of you and hubs. So cute!! And your advice is definitely something we can all aspire to.

If you saw the cookies we decorated yesterday, you'd know we're not a family of perfection. LOL! But I wanted to offer my family that relaxed holiday spirit. It was a beautiful day.

November 22, 2010 at 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I could think of when reading that is how blessed you must feel that he searched, inspected, decided, moved to the next one, examined... and then picked the perfect wife in his eyes! YOU!

November 22, 2010 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Jessa Irene (Holiday-Haven) said...

How funny that HE was the one to be picky about the tree! (That is usually a girl thing around here: :)

And I couldn't agree more with asking family members their vision of a great holiday. When I asked my 10yr old he said 'snow', well I can't promise that, but I can sure make sure to get out there and build a snowman with him if it does happen to snow.

And I love your thanksgiving traditions, we do similar to the first couple ones. But #4 & #5 I had never heard/thought of, we will be adding that to our traditions! Thanks. :)

And Thanks so much for participating in my blog party. It is an honor to have you join.

November 22, 2010 at 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

I needed this today, thank you!! I've been dreading the holidays this year because I always try so hard to make them perfect and normally end up so grouchy and wishing for them to end and making them miserable for my family.

This year I will ask my husband what he would like and we will focus on enjoying our loved ones.


It's Grace

November 22, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is so important to find those FEW things that are important to you and your family, and focus on those. We cannot go to every party and festivity and still have an enjoyable holiday at home!

November 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

"But in his quest for perfection the dreamy moment was ruined."

Got it.

Thank you for this analogy.

November 22, 2010 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger Corrie said...

Good reminder. Thanks.

November 22, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Check this out!

November 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Such a good reminder, Courtney. I've been thinking about how much I need to watch the ideal images that flow past my eyes during the holiday season ... setting us up for frustration instead of peace. It's a great addition to today's Marriage Mondays!

November 22, 2010 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Leslie and James said...

love that picture! ps- I think we need a vlog on how to tie a scarf like yours in your blog picture!:)

November 22, 2010 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger Muthering Heights said...

As always, awesome on!!

And this is waaaaaaayyyy off topic, but you two look so cute in this picture...such adorable newlyweds!

But seriously,do you age? At all? Ever?? You look just the same now as you did then!!!

P.S. I had to giggle at this picture of your husband...he looks soooooooooo young in this picture!

November 22, 2010 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger The Samples Sampler said...

After I read this post, I turned to my husband and asked him what he wanted our thanksgiving to be like. He looked at me, shock and surprise written all over his face, and said "I can't believe you just asked me that." It made me feel terrible. I always plan our holidays the way I want, without even thinking about what he wants. Thank you for opening my eyes.

November 24, 2010 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Lady-in-the-Making said...

Along with Bev - I, too, wish I could have known this 25 years ago.

This is a great point and I will be asking my husband what his expectations are!

Better late than never!:)

November 27, 2010 at 11:13 PM  

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