A Gift Wrapped in Love, Not Perfection

Andrea Condodemetraky essays

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The holidays are here, and with them come so much stress, drama and worry that the perfect day just might be ruined by someone or something, bad weather or burned food, a less than perfect tree decor, or a gift gone wrong. If you want to find something to get upset over during these busy wintry days, you will. If you want to find the joy, be present in the moment, and look at the bright side of the star on top of the tree instead of the fact that it's crooked, then you will. Things are going to go wrong, pies will be dropped, wine glasses will break, rolls will be forgotten in the warmer until dessert time. But if you let these things get you down, you'll be too busy crying in your eggnog to see the magic of the holidays that is happening all around you.

In a Pinterest perfect world, I’ve promised myself that this year I will stop thinking about the flawlessly decorated mantle I saw in Macy's, the fabulously festive table on the cover of Good Housekeeping, or the spectacular tree from the Downton Abbey Christmas episode, and  just find the joy in what I have.

I will find magic in the overly sprinkled, odd-shaped angel cut out cookies with too much frosting that my boys insisted they help me make.

I will find charm in my Charlie Brown tree that is adorned in my kids' handiwork full of clothespin reindeers, green painted Popsicle trees, and the half eaten popcorn strands that hang loosely on the branches.

The giggles will echo in my thoughts as I remember the boys using a pen to smear 'TO DAD' on the nametags while pulling too much tape with their awkward little fingers that got caught in the dispenser.

I will even smirk instead of curse when I have to clean up yet another pile of cat vomit from the tree skirt that I bought last year on clearance at Target.

I will not lament that instead of the gold-trimmed Lenox Nativity set above a fireplace (that I do not have) but rather the Little People Nativity Set strewn all over the family room—complete with a Sharpie drawn moustache on one of the three wise men and a missing baby Jesus from the manger.

I will not cringe as I notice a half eaten candy cane remnant hanging from the tree. I will fight the urge to re-position a group of twenty ornaments on the same three boughs.

I won't fantasize about using the beautiful Christmas china that my Grandmother left me but instead  giggle as I toss the red and green paper plates in the garbage can ensuring a quick and easy cleanup from our family meal.

God willing, I have plenty of years ahead of me to use my good China, to someday own a perfectly decorated mantle above a warm and toasty fireplace, and to even sit down to a hot meal during the holidays. For now, however, I'm quite content to unwrap these gifts that my children used too much wrapping and tape on because they are bursting at the seams with love.

Innocent. Wild. Merry. Crazy love.

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Andrea Condodemetraky

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