We all have visions of the perfect Christmas Day. Alas, it doesn’t often unravel quite as we hope. There will almost certainly be disagreements, too much booze and at least one family member snoring on the sofa before 3pm. Embrace it all…
I had this idea in my head for a Christmas Day post. I pictured a photo of me and my two-year-old daughter Joni warmly embracing, surrounded by the glow of fairy lights with flickering flames from the woodburner in the background. The message would be positive, warm and full of hygge.
But each time I beckoned my husband to take a photo of us, something went wrong. Either I couldn’t be arsed to pose, Joni had a tantrum or Rich was lacking enthusiasm; preferring to be raking up leaves than snapping his pregnant wife and two-nager.
Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, as we gathered our coats and gloves and prepared to leave the house for a puppet theatre show in Islington, I had this great idea that now – right now – would be a fantastic time for a swift photoshoot. I could then write up my thoughts when we returned home.
What actually happened was: Rich was rushing to get in the car so that we weren’t late, Joni burst into HYSTERICAL tears as soon as I mentioned the word ‘camera’ and my face morphed from smiling-and-camera-ready to why-the-fuck-is-this-so-hard-let’s-give-up.
So after accidentally getting the above ‘action’ shot – we left the camera and went on our (not so) merry way.
This episode was an example of real, every day life. Things don’t always go your way. Your vision of what you’d like to happen won’t always translate. That’s not to say you shouldn’t envisage good things happening – I firmly believe that you should – but you should know when to let go, too.
Christmas Day is the perfect example of when ‘perfect’ is near impossible – or, in my experience: completely impossible – to achieve. Bringing together family, friends or both, staying in one space for at least 24 hours and expecting it all to flow smoothly, the whole way through, is ludicrous.
People will bicker. Booze will make you merry – and then very tired and maybe a bit intolerant and snappy. Children won’t be angels. Not everyone will want to watch EastEnders with you. You might not want to play Articulate, while everyone else does. And you might, like me, be pregnant – dry in two senses.
But all this surely epitomises the truly ‘perfect’ Christmas Day? One where things go wrong, people go wrong – and everyone finds a way to soldier on through nonetheless. So my Christmas Day message is this: embrace the imperfection, laugh at the bad bits and have a jolly good (slightly shit) time.