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My Favorite Part Of Christmas Is The Aftermath

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I know Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect, but a little voice whispers in my ear that perfect might be nice. So, this time of year is an interesting balance for me as I hold on to the ease and simplicity that I so deeply crave while I try to embrace the excitement and buzz of friends, family, and festivities.

This weekend, from across town and out of state, my family gathered together. In preparation to host, I shopped, cooked, and planned. I was excited, but I also frazzled a bit in anticipation.

The moment neared and I moved quickly, getting this and that done. Then somebody smoked up the house when a pie overflowed in the oven and the smoke alarms blared and the security company called to check on us and the toddler cried and the dogs hid and we had to open all the doors and windows even though it was 45 degrees outside. Fine, it was me. I smoked up the house. Whatever. Nothing was ever on fire. The pie was fine. I got to clean the oven. It’s fine.

Then family arrived and we all laughed because it’s not a family holiday until someone sets off the smoke alarm. The cousins pulled out every toy and screamed all the screams and laughed all the laughs. The adults gathered in the kitchen and snacked on this and visited about that. Everyone stayed up too late and the next morning’s coffee was extra strong.

Over the weekend there were meals, laughs, gifts, dessert, shopping malls, Santa, leftovers, and Christmas lights. Then, as the planned activities wound down, I found everyone gathered in the living room. The couch was full, feet were propped, and blankets were shared. We had hot chocolate and popcorn and we laughed until, one by one, we called it a night and each headed to bed.

There, in the aftermath of our family’s Christmas weekend, I realized that my anticipation had settled into contentment. Was it perfect? I don’t know. Maybe that depends on your definition of perfect. If perfect means no smoke alarms, all the dishes washed, and short lines to see Santa, then no, it was not perfect. But, if by perfect, you mean food & family, love & laughter, and cousins & Christmas lights, then yes. Yes, it was absolutely perfect.

(Pic of me & my beautiful sisters-in-law)


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