So the Christmas season is upon us. I think Mother Nature has been hitting the holiday cheer a little early this year because we are not experiencing the typical December weather we are used to in my neck of the woods. School mornings aren’t filled with “Put on your toque!” ( hat for the non-Canadians) followed with the all too familiar “BUT MOM!!! It’s gonna ruin my hair!”. Not an “appropriate” footwear argument to be heard or a pout or tantrum over ugly winter boots to be had. There may be peace and happiness in the morning at households of school aged children everywhere, but it doesn’t seem to last. “It doesn’t feel like Christmas” is what I hear all day at the shop. After hearing it for the tenth time before 10 a.m. (we open at 9:30 a.m.), I found myself thinking about what I think Christmas is, and what I used to think Christmas was and how hard we as women are on ourselves and our image. (Hey, it’s Monday and I had 4 cups of coffee and have a teenage daughter – enough said).
When I was a child I firmly believed in Santa and the Baby Jesus. I thought they were related. I couldn’t wait to see Santa, that was until I got within 5 feet of the man and thought I was going to pee my pants because I swore he could read my mind and knew it was me who had cut my sister’s Barbie’s hair and had kicked many boys “where it counts” when they made fun of me…and he would tell the Baby Jesus. Fast forward to my twenties/early thirties. I was married when I was 22 and yes we are still together and we still love and like each other. I, as many women went through the “Norman Rockwell painting” phase. Oh come on…you know you did, hell, you may still be going through it – my condolences. The “Norman Rockwell painting” phase or NRP as I like to call it is when one puts so much pressure on one’s self to look perfect and act perfect that one does not enjoy anything and finds no beauty…anywhere. Not in their decorations, baking, family or their own reflection. I thankfully snapped out of that. As I type, I have a tree up in my living room with lights on it and that’s about it. Why? My daughter wants to help decorate it but she has too much homework so we will do it later some time this week…and guess what?!? The moon didn’t turn black and the earth didn’t open up and swallow us whole. Take that NRP. Now Christmas is whatever it may be. Last year it was beer and quesadillas. This year, I have no idea yet and it is glorious.
In the last week I have seen women fret and panic because the red polish they needed for an exact match to their holiday sweater set was on back order. I heard a woman call herself an idiot because she forgot her list. I have heard women say they were too old for a new cut. I have seen a woman’s lip quiver over deciding which flat iron to get. All of them had themselves on such a tight schedule, everything had to be perfectly timed – a timer should be used for baking cookies – not for your daily life. They were all trying to make it perfect. Ladies, it is time to ease up on ourselves, it’s never gonna be perfect. Souffles will fall, cookies will burn, nail polish will chip (if you use OPI ChipSkip it won’t but that is another tale for another time).
There may not be snow, there may be stress in your life, the nail polish may be on back order but it can still feel like Christmas. Play a game with your child, laugh at their jokes even if it is the 100th time you have heard it. Hold your husband’s hand and when you ask how his day was, mean it. Smile as you pass people on the street. Give to a local charity. Donate to a toy drive. Sing a carol in your car. Text a friend to tell them they are wonderful. Talk to your parents – in their living room or at their grave – they will listen to you either way. Next thing you know…it may begin to feel like Christmas.