Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Perfect Christmas

I am going to share my Christmas with you. It is long. You may not be inclined to finish it, but that is ok. I will be back to regular posts soon.

The Christmas Eve message at church was titled "The Perfect Christmas." The premise is we all want that perfect Christmas, but it doesn't really exist does it?! The birth of Jesus wasn't in the perfect setting, and I can't even imagine giving birth in that setting or being Joseph, a man that probably feels like most that he needs to find an inn and give Mary the best possible place to give birth.

The perfect Christmas probably only exists in photographs and movies.

The images are everywhere these days... the perfect tree, the perfect table set with pretty flowers and china, the perfect wreath. Some would blame social media, but I remember watching my story of choice growing up, The Guiding Light, with the Bauers and Spaldings all dressed in their best and decorating their Christmas trees on Christmas Eve. Of course, they all sang carols. I truly remember O' Holy Night being sung for the first time on Guiding Light. Then there were the variety shows of the 60's and 70's that made everything look so perfect. My personal favorite of those was the Andy Williams special. I have to admit much of those TV shows and what I saw in Southern Living magazine shaped the traditions that I hold special today.

Of course, throw in all that you did growing up and shake that up with your new spouse when you get married and you have Christmas at the Palmers.

Things have been slowly changing over the past couple of years. I know nothing stays the same, kids grow up, parents pass, and I have been somewhat determined along the way that I would be the keeper of traditions while adapting to changes.

I knew my kids would grow up just as I did and I would have to share them with their spouse's families. Out tradition for 30 years was to spend Christmas Eve with my husband's family and then drive to my mom's Christmas Day. I had been blessed with the fact that our parents lived less than an hour and a half from each other. When my step dad passed, Mother moved here two years ago. We had eaten her house on Christmas Day, but it was just her, Jeff, Paul Allen, and me.

This year would be the year that the big change happened. Gasp! Lindsay and Tyler would spend the entire Christmas in Atlanta with his parents. I wouldn't be sad I told myself. You knew it was coming. They had spent Christmas Eve here the past two years since marriage and driven to our cabin in Auburn late that evening, then onto Atlanta early Christmas morning. I worried about all that driving...that's what a mama does.

I knew I wasn't the only one that would take it hard, as Lindsay is definitely a Daddy's girl. Of course, she and Paul Allen are close too.

It was time to let them go. I decided the traditional Christmas Eve would be held on the 23rd. The traditional dinner served in the dining room on the Christmas china that I so love to use. I love having the good dishes out on special occasions. We would open all of our gifts. It would not be our usual crowd of Jeff's siblings, but just Jeff, me, the kids, and Mother. We had one special guest this year. Paul Allen invited Katie. Things were all set. The house was pretty, the lights aglow, the table set, and dinner cooking. We were having a lovely time.

Then the kitchen sinks (both sides) decided to clog up. I figured I had messed up by putting potato peels down the garbage disposal. I told the kids we would let it go until later and I would get it all. I am sure Paul Allen was secretly doing the happy dance. He has always hated waiting to open presents while I hand washed (with help of course) the Christmas china. No dishwasher is going to mess up my prized dishes.

We opened presents, laughed, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. I sent them all off happy and well loved. I set to work cleaning up the mess without the use of the kitchen sinks. I set up a washing station in the tub of the guest bathroom down the hall. I did manage it all and smiled all the while I did it. I really did. My heart was full. I finished it all at 10:45 PM. I was too wound up to sleep by that time, so I got on You Tube looking for videos on how to unclog the disposal, since I thought the potato peels had done it. I now am well versed on what you can and can not put in a garbage disposal and how to unclog them. I poured copious amounts of soda and vinegar down the drain. I even sent Jeff out for more on Christmas Eve morning before church. All of this to no avail.

The message at church the morning of Christmas Eve was so "perfect" for me. Mother said the message was just for me. It really had reminded me that nothing is perfect, but in spite of the debacle in the kitchen and the mess I had to clean up, I had felt immensely blessed.

Back to what might look like the not so perfect Christmas story.

I had Jeff's siblings coming for the traditional Christmas Eve meal and decided that I would just have to use paper plates. The little hostess in me was still trying so hard to have the perfect Christmas dinner. We did all enjoy ourselves and all were fine with the paper plates. It is me who loves to use the china at Christmas.

Christmas Day proved to break all my traditions as well. Since neither child would be with us, Jeff's sister  suggested  that Jeff, me, and Mama go to eat with her and her husband. What???!!! Eat out. I have never in 57 years eaten out on Christmas Day. My first thought was to be opposed. I hate to think of anyone working on Christmas. The restaurant is one that is managed by a culture that is most likely not Christian. I have no clue about that, but either way they had a Christmas buffet that was quite nice. My sister said it was going to be her new tradition as her daughter Kristan and family don't come home from Houston anymore now that the twins need to be home for Santa.

On Christmas Day morning, Jeff decided to let me rest awhile and took the dogs to run at the park. He left his phone on the bumper of the Jeep not realizing it until he got home. You guessed it. When he went back to look for it, it was smashed. Run over multiple times. It was crushed into multiple pieces. New phone for him.

I also made the decision not to put Gus in his kennel when we left for our Christmas meal out. Gus decided that he would chew up Jeff's Costa sunshades. If you aren't familiar with them, they are amazing shades and if you live where we do they are not really a splurge, but a good investment. One that he had bifocal readers in for tying his fishing line. Poor Gus was in big trouble.  New sunshades for him.

The plumber arrived today. The disposal was not the issue, but the sink. He had to run the snake thingie 45 feet to clear it. No amount of soda and vinegar was clearing that clog.

I broke a precious ornament today while cleaning and then dropped the blender jar and it smashed into lots of pieces. New blender needed.

I was beginning to feel jinxed!!! 

Through the not so perfect Christmas I have kept my wits; not one tear has fallen YET or really even complaining. I have tried to remember it is Christmas and the message is that their is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, but a perfect Savior.

I have my family and we will learn to adapt to the changes that are coming. After all, isn't that what you raise them to do...get married, have children of their own and be at their house for Santa to arrive?

If you made it to the end of my story, know that I am about to prop my feet up in my chair and do a little cross stitching. I am hoping nothing else breaks, because I might not hold out forever with the good attitude. I am not perfect!

I promise I will be back with my stitching loot soon.

I think EVEN with all my problems, I had a pretty perfect Christmas.


  1. Broken sink, phone, glasses, paperplates...it's a Christmas you will surely remember!!! Your positive attitude shines through in your writing but is even more evident in all those smiling faces!!! You did have a perfect Christmas!!! Mary

    1. Thanks Mary. It was a series of unfortunate events, but all were small in light of real problems. I hope to back tonight with my stitching presents.

  2. Oh Sandy, that is the funny thing about life. It changes. I think you handled all that was thrown at you with grace. I know that this is one that you will look back on and remember always. Look forward to seeing what you are stitching on!

  3. In years to come you will remember this Christmas with a big smile on your face. Sometimes when everything goes wrong they turn out in the end to be the most fun and the most meaningful. I loved your attitude through it all. You have a beautiful family and are very blessed. RJ

  4. I love a perfect Christmas/daily life. Yes, I have bought into the Norman Rockwell, but in the last five years I've seen the ugliness of my own perfectionism. Norman Rockwell looks different to me than it used to. I work hard every day as I rearrange my thinking, and OH THE BENEFITS :-). I find many silver linings now, and focus on those things that can't be monetized or lost. I'm loved the Sunday sermon and your ability to keep things in focus this year. So proud of you. Loved this post. :-) Happy New Year. Judy

  5. Sandy... what a beautiful family you have! I know the Mister and I will be facing this with our kids in a few years. I've got to work on my flexibility skills now. Sounds like it all turned out okay except for the phone debacle. Hope you have a wonderful Happy New Year!!


I am so glad you stopped by my little blog. Drop in again anytime.