Faking the perfect family takes years of practice, so MAMAs don’t put too much pressure on yourselves for perfecting it immediately. With one major holiday down, here are some tips that can give us a head start on the next one!
1. The perfect family photo/holiday card
Really? Why do we pick out matching clothes for our kids and expect that a) they are going to like it, b) it will make them smile bigger and behave better, c) it looks even remotely like our kids every other day of the year
Solution: Keep the kids in their dirty clothes and just have them make a funny face – say “jingle bells!” It’ll save a lot of time and aggravation, get the job done, stand out from all the other “perfect” cards and everyone can move on to the next perfect task. Don’t worry, it’ll be perfectly THEM.
2. The perfectly decorated house
O.k., so this one gets tricky…it’ll probably require someone on the roof and his name is not Santa. Not to mention, the perfectly decked halls and all the fa la la la la that follows a trip to Home Depot to fight over the tree - you know, “honey whichever one you want…no, not that one!” Times ten. Bah humbug. Stay calm Get it done. Tis the season. (If you don’t do the tree/St. Nick deal, skip to #4)
Solution: No way, we’re not advocating a faux tree – that is not perfect enough. You need the smell of pine, the hassle of schlepping it in and out of the house and vaccuming of needles to check this box off the list. But, we do think you should recruit elves…your elves. Stick their crazy holiday art all over the fridge and on the tree. The real tree, with the holes and lopsided Charlie Brown-esque thing goin’ on. Hang some candy canes on it, put them in bowls and add to the wreath on the front door. Super cheap. Fun, festive and practical – whenever you want a little snack, have at it MAMA.
3. The perfect holiday MOMent
Oh, the anxiety of it all. If you’re dating, you’re “dreaming of a white Christmas” playing in the background with candles flickering, snow flurries falling and mistletoe hanging. If you’re a kid, it’s about sugar plum fairies, Santa’s bag of toys, jingle bells and hot cocoa (yep, throw in a candy cane). But, when you’re a parent, it is about your kid making it through the school pageant without doing anything completely embarrassing, not getting busted putting together the dollhouse at 3 a.m. and capturing the desired expression and squeal of joy from your perfectly imperfect kid when they see it.
Solution: We can’t help ya with the pageant, just prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But, for not being outed on Christmas Eve, put bells on their bedroom door. It goes with #2 and helps with #3.
4. The perfect hostess gift
The fruitcake is not the answer. It looks weird. It tastes weird. And you can’t even wrap it to make it look appealing. The perfect hostess gift is all in the wrapping, because, let’s face it…it will probably end up being re-gifted anyway.
Solution: Don’t spend a lot on the gift, make it about the wrapping. The presentation is key in the perfect hostess gift department. All it has to do is look impressive (because no one but the hostess will ever know what it is) and she won’t even know who it’s from. Just smile and hand it over…no gift card necessary. Oh pleeeeeaaase, sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do!
5. The perfect extended family dinner
Perfect is in the eye of the beholder, of course. Fake perfect is all about perception. A beautifully set table can hide a multitude of sins. After all, everyone has the crazy aunt who likes to bring homemade cheese ball hors d’ouevres, and an uncle who thinks its fun to trap someone under the mistletoe. There will be the sister whose hubby is obnoxious after too much egg nog, and the tweener nephew who tells the the little ones that “Santa isn’t real.” This is too much for us to mitigate when deciding who will sit next to deaf grandpa, while making the perfect scratch gravy at the same time.
Solution: If you’re the host, parse out the menu (we love us a little pot luck) because everybody has a recipe they think they’ve mastered. Let go a little and let the cheese ball roll! Serve plenty of wine and turn up the Christmas music. Make sure you sit next to the most fun family member at dinner. It might even be the most dysfunctional person…but, what the heck…you owe yourself a jolly good time after all of your holiday preparations and jingled bells.
Remember MAMAs, the holidays are all about being together. Raise a glass and thank your crazy family for their contribution to the day. Lighten up! Embrace the the fact that most of us totally fake being “perfect” during the holidays. Heck, most of us are faking it most of the time! So, treat the holidays like a normal day…just with better outfits, more food and a cleaner house. “Nobody’s perfect”…and sometimes it’s the imperfect MOMents in our lives that turn out to be the very best memories!