Come Christmas I always go through an internal battle. Should I decorate the Christmas tree 'perfectly' myself? Or let the kids loose and give them the excitement of putting it up themselves? Knowing the result might be somewhat less than perfect. Of course the kids win every year....and so they should! There's nothing like witnessing their sheer delight and excitement. Watching them digging out the box of decorations from the storeroom, where it has been hiding all year. Unwrapping the tissue paper and discovering long lost treasures. Battling with tangled strings of lights. Hanging each decoration with care and consideration, all whilst blaring out Christmas songs. Even my eldest daughter comes under the spell, emerging from her 'teenageness' and becoming an over-excited little kid again! Add to the chaos, a puppy's wonder and playfulness and you have absolute perfect imperfection...!
A tradition of perfect imperfection
My mum had decorations dating back decades which came out year after year. Mum's was a wonderful eclectic, multi-coloured collection. Hardly Pinterest or Instagram worthy, but packed full of memories. Flower-shaped rainbow fairy lights, fading glass baubles, tinkling bells. Beautiful in their own chaotic, vibrant way. The tree was always bought and put up on Christmas eve or at least no more than a few days before Christmas. Then taken down on the 12th day, if she could stand the dropping needles that long.
We put our Christmas tree up today. All too excited to wait any longer! Living in the tropics, we tend to stick with our fake tree, as a real tree is often a sorry sight by the time Christmas actually arrives. Following in my Mum's footsteps, I have religiously stuck to my original (15 year old) colour scheme, adding a few new decorations each year. I feel desperate sometimes to brake away and do something completely different, but once the tree is up, the lights are twinkling and all those old favorites are elegantly dangling, I just delight in its familiarity and warmth.
So perhaps if you are a bit of a perfectionist like me... stop! Take a deep breath and just let your kids loose! Allow their little crafted masterpieces to hang loud and proud. Smile inside when all the decorations are clumped in one spot. Just sit back and be infected with the joy and excitement. Delight in the imperfection...
...Then, once they are all tucked up in bed, you can make a few 'tweaks'....if you're lucky they might not even notice!