I Failed at Christmas

Well, not all of Christmas.

As Christians, our family holds the miracle of this day in our hearts, but it’s such a part of our faith, that it comes as naturally as breathing in and out. We know the story of Christ’s birth to be true, and because of that, Christmas lives in our hearts year round.

But…I failed at all the other Christmas stuff this year. Big time.

I bust out a batch of peanut butter blossoms on Christmas Eve Day. Our tree had 5 ornaments on it and stood 4 feet tall (I’m transferring the blame to the fact that we have a toddler in the house this year.) And our Elves on the Shelf…well, they weren’t as exciting as every other year.

We missed the Christmas train (literally.) Only looked at 2 houses’ Christmas lights. Didn’t go downtown to see the lights in the skyscrapers. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t put any Christmas music on until Christmas Eve weekend.

It’s not like I was just enjoying the season…because we were so busy with moving and everything that goes with that, that the Christmas books went unread, the Christmas movies went unwatched (except National Lampoon and Polar Express), and the boys’ advent calendar still has more than half of the chocolate in it.

It. Was. Dismal.

I realize that I have two options at this point. I could wallow in self-pity, frustration, and general disappointment. Or I could give myself grace. I can remember the reason for the season. And know that despite the tiny tree, lack of festive music, and decline in our annual traditional activities, my family and I still ended Christmas knowing the reason we celebrate.

On Christmas, we were finishing up our celebration at my parents’ house. We played this awesomely fun game that involves a saran wrap ball, oven mitts, and lots of fun little prizes. You unwrap the saran wrap and the person next to you keeps trying to roll doubles. And whatever prizes you unwrap while it’s your turn, you keep.

What seemed odd to me was that after the saran wrap ball was unwrapped, and the game was over, Explorer Cub was trading all his tasty candy he won…for tealight candles. Curious as to what his motivations were, I asked him why he would want to trade all his favorite candy for tealight candles…his response melted my heart:

“Candles signify faith, so I want as many as I can get.”

Let me change the title of this blog to “I Failed at Christmas. Mostly.” Because clearly, I didn’t fail at Christmas. I failed at all the things that go with Christmas, but I didn’t fail at Christmas itself.

“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” – Winston Churchill

Next Christmas, I want to do better. I want to have regular sized tree. Put our favorite ornaments on. Buy the silly ugly sweaters. Sing the songs. Decorate the cookies. Come up with some kick butt Elf ideas. And go to as many darn Christmas activities that we can.

But this year, I am giving myself grace. Because my kid gets it, and that’s what matters to me.

I hope your Christmas was magical and beautiful, just as it should be when we celebrate Christ’s birth. But just in case it wasn’t, I hope you are giving yourself grace to know that it’s the littlest moments that matter. The ones everyone else might not have even noticed. I pray that you give yourself the grace to embrace the imperfections while looking forward to the next year. God bless!

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The Measure of Us

one family | one bus | big on adventure | small on stuff

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