A Recovering Perfectionist Does Christmas


I wrote this post last year, but at 36 weeks pregnant and with a history of early, fast labors, I’m again determined to keep this holiday season simple.

Each year, I enter December with high hopes for a peaceful, simple holiday season focused on the heart of Christmas.

But generally by this time I am, as the editors of Watch for the Light say, “sensing the deeper meanings of the season but grasping at them in vain…[with all] the bustle leaving me drained.”

This year, I’m determined to attend to my heart over the next few weeks—to pay attention to my stress level and motivations and to adjust my attitude or what’s on my plate accordingly.

Yes, there will be tasks to accomplish, events to plan, and more activities than usual.

But I’m holding onto hope that it’s possible to approach all of it with grace–instead of an attitude that makes my kids and husband casualties in the storm of Mommy Trying to Make an Amazing Christmas.

So I’m watching for those moments, those forks in the road where I can decide to plow ahead on the road to perfection or choose to slow down, do less, accept my (and my kids’) limitations, and see beauty in the midst of it all.

Maybe you’re good at choosing the better way.

As a recovering perfectionist, I am not.

So far, the slower but more intentional route has meant making choices like:

Accepting that doing everything on my awesome holiday traditions list is not possible.  Unless I want it to feel like holiday boot-camp.

Involving the kids in the decorating–even though my son will likely threaten his, others’ and the ornaments’ safety.


Delegating some decorating tasks to Hubs and accepting variant outcomes.

Pausing in the midst of tasks to read the Christmas books my kids bring me.

Letting my daughter wear the tree skirt around the house because it’s “such a beautiful dress.”

Tree Skirt1

Choosing not to stress over the fact that my son slept/acted hilariously awful over Thanksgiving break with fam. I must be chilling out as a mom because I’m less apt to profusely apologize for a fussy baby.  Score.

Nothing earth-shattering.  Just small steps toward a slower, less-stressed holiday season.

How is December going for you so far?

About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • brenda venable

    If it helps at all, know that you are not alone. Each year we seem to add more to our Christmas ‘to-do’ list, you’d think w/ just the 2 of us it would be simple now, I guess not. Projects are stranded on the ole craft table waiting my return, I’ve decided to just look at them as I pass by and not worry about their completion. Rosie & Violet will have to wait for 2014 for their ski hats and matching capes.
    Once you’ve made a conscience decision not to do something, not to go somewhere, not to bake that special recipe, …… and you’ve accepted that choice…. all is well for the season to go forward. Trust me, it’s OK, you’ve got enough going on w/ J & R to last forever. Enjoy those precious moments as your Christmas tree skirt twirls around the house, and little mister looks at the tree ornaments w/ a gleam in his eye. It’s all good!

  • Andrea

    I love that you’re going to let her wear the tree skirt! Good job mom! We’re working on keeping it simple and being real with our expectations this year too. I wrote about it at intentionaljane.com.

  • Can I just add a great big ditto? Because this is my heart (minus the little Bearcub although Khaira is being a crazy two year old these days). Love you, friend.

  • Yes Yes Yes! So often I stress us all out with the “fun family stuff” I want to do (complete with picture perfect expectations), that it does the exact opposite of what I want to happen! This year, we’re doing 3 things that are important to us: cutting down our own tree in the mountains (done!), visiting Santa, and taking part of a day to bake some cookies.

    • Oh…. a three-item to-do list. That is fantastic. And cutting down your tree in the mountains? Fabulous.

  • emmillerwrites

    Your daughter in the tree skirt is THE CUTEST! I definitely am making a point to keep Christmas simple on my blog this year so I can focus on spending time with God, family and friends.

    • Thanks Emily–she’s a lot of fun. 🙂 Good call on the blog stuff; I’m constantly having to remind myself not to do more with it than is reasonable at this time of year.

  • Mare Ball

    I feel the same way. yesterday, on facebook, I started posting a suggestion a day (until Christmas) – simple things we can all do to hold onto the quiet of Christmas. I don’t want to be overrun by the chaos and obligations this year. Check it out, if you’d like. 🙂 Adventures in the Ballpark – Mare Ball

    • Mare, I so hear you on not wanting to be overrun! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on all of that. 🙂

  • I can totally relate to this! Imperfections aren’t all so bad when you get used to them – they can be kind of fun? 🙂

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  • Anne @ I need some inspiration

    Girl, you speaketh my language. Anxiety is not a fun Christmas present! Wishing you peaceful rest of Advent and beautiful Christmas. Pregnant at Christmas can be stressful (I know, twice over), but it’s also very meaningful! God bless! (I’ve been trying to write about it, too, and I’ve got the itch to write another post on this topic.)

    • Did you have your babies at Christmastime, too?? Thanks for the well wishes 🙂

      • Anne @ I need some inspiration

        My first was due Dec. 27/28 (came Jan 1), and the third was due Jan. 9 (came Jan. 7). So, yes, very pregnant at Christmas!! 🙂