As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a stickler when it comes to decorations. Once, when my older girls were toddlers, I thought it would be so cute to use their tiny thumbprints as leaves for some fun, Pinterest-inspired canvas decorations for fall. My oldest, in all her creativity, decided to mix her orange, red, and yellow paint all together creating a muddy brown. I scolded her for her creativity. I wanted Pinterest worthy, but looking back, now I just want that muddy, messy picture of sweet, plump thumbprints.
While riding down to the coast with a dear friend of mine who is also a spiritual mother to me, we got on the topic of raising babies. Naturally, I asked the question any young, inexperienced mother asks when they get the chance to pick the mind of an experienced mother turned grandmother.
“If you could go back and change anything you did, what would it be?”
She didn’t hesitate.
“I would let them decorate the Christmas tree.”
I think I may have laughed, but I’m not sure.
She didn’t look over at me. She kept her eyes on the road as she explained.
“I was so particular about the way the ornaments hung that when my girls would hang them I would go behind them and rearrange the ornaments. Eventually, they quit decorating with me. I would ask the girls if they wanted to decorate the tree and they would reply, ‘Why? You’re just gonna change what we do.’ So, if I could change anything, I wouldn’t have been so picky. I wouldn’t have allowed my idea of perfection to ruin a Christmas tradition.”
I sat for a moment as I drank in her wisdom and conviction struck my heart. I was guilty of the same thing.
The difference was I still had time.
I could loosen my tight grip on the garland and allow small hands to hang multi-colored, mismatching ornaments on low-lying branches.
I could say yes to the gaudy, matching Grinch pajamas.
I could sit and take pictures of giddy kids with hot cocoa mustaches trimming our family tree, dancing and spinning around to “Jingle Bell Rock.”
I could smile as they proudly showcased their work of art to every visitor.
So no, I don’t have a magazine-worthy, Pinterest-inspired Christmas tree. But I’ve got happy children.
After all, when I’m gone, my children aren’t going to ooh and ahh over the memory of beautiful decorations. They’re going to remember how Momma took them to Walmart and let everyone pick out their favorite ornaments. They’re going to remember how Momma and Daddy matched with their “cool” Christmas pajamas. They’re going to remember the whole family dancing to Christmas music.
They’re going to remember how Christmas felt, not how it looked.
So relax, momma, Christmas isn’t for the magazines, it’s for the children.
Originally published on the author’s blog