Here it is December 26, and so technically (at least) you’ve survived the holidays. You’ve got the debt and the still-standing Christmas decorations, today at least (and perhaps part of the foreseeable future) to prove it. You got those great boots you asked for, maybe a surprise or two you didn’t, and a sentimental gift you’ll treasure probably forever, even if it’s just the gesture.
Too often we convince ourselves that the perfect Christmas is wrapped up in how much we spent, how much we gave, maybe even how much we got. Those may be the “easiest” ways to determine whether we survived the annual hustle and bustle. But do we ever ask ourselves what will survive?
Every year, our favorite classic movies like Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” or “It’s A Wonderful Life” deliver those beautifully packaged promises of profound and perfect (in the end) moments. When Food & Wine magazine and Better Homes and Gardens magazine asked readers to recall their most memorable holidays, picture perfect or even impossibly ideal was hardly an adjective used to describe them.
Just goes to show that even misadventures, mistakes and those all important “little things” can lead to some of the most cherished–or at least fondly recalled–memories. It got me thinking about those that have survived my Christmases past. Certainly nothing grandiose or impossible, but still special nonetheless.
Going out with my brother on Christmas Eve to help him do all of his shopping, then dragging him to a great shoe sale the day after Christmas, where I found one of the greatest deals ever on a pair of boots at least a size too small (that yes, I purchased and wore, i.e., stretched out until they fit).
Scouring post-Christmas sales with Mom, looking especially for holiday décor. Sharing early-morning coffee with Dad (Mom doesn’t drink the stuff, so it’s rare he makes a pot at home). Helping my little niece unwrap her gifts and letting her open all of mine (though she definitely didn’t need help this year).
Being the recipient of someone’s time and sacrifice, and feeling very humbled and loved as a result. Standing by someone’s side (or being quietly supportive) during a tragedy or loss. Giving thanks for simply surviving an unnerving situation.
In our race to the end of the merry madness–perhaps that’d be considered today–we’re maybe more concerned about pulling off the perfect Hallmark Christmas and all the pressure that comes with it–when ironically what often survives does so despite our best efforts.