Letting Go of Your Perfect Christmas To-Do List

What is it about this time of year that makes us want to turn into Martha Stewart? Annually, I desire to provide my family the PERFECT holiday, yet fall short. This year, I made my list of “to dos”, but I included the cringe-worthy moments from times gone by as a reality check.

Take a Photo for a Memorable Holiday Card
I stopped taking annual holiday cards after my Kindergartner took my middle daughter under the table and decorated her entire face with permanent markers and a “Rudolf” nose less than two hours before our scheduled photo shoot.

cbb9I was brave enough to resume the photo tradition years later and hired a young photographer to do the honors in front of the Toledo Museum of Art (pure class, right?) when the girls were in high school. His inexperience caused him to photograph my all-female, DD-sized offspring lying on the cold marble steps in front of the edifice. Their faces were priceless; so we went with it. To this day, we have a serious photo on the front of the card and a total chaotic mess on the inside. It pretty much sums us up during this time of year.

Host ‘Bake and Take’ Cookie Party
I let go of the belief that the baked creations produced in this house will rival Martha’s. The gingerbread cookies our visually-impaired Gram with macular degeneration decorated boarded on the obscene. Also, now that we are the owners of a Golden Retriever puppy (who appears to have 4 foot legs), we need to remember to keep baked goods in a safe place. Historically, we have come home to a frosting encrusted canine with red hots stuck in its fur. It is also vital to remember that even though your children are now young professionals, frosting wars may still break out. Plan accordingly.

Perfectly Place and Decorate the Christmas Tree
I come from a long line of individuals who suffered from the inability of properly securing a tree to be utilized for festive purposes. There is nothing like having a green-branched monster appear to devour your great-grandmother on Christmas morn. Unfortunately, the DNA trickled down to yours truly yet I have learned the fine art of using fishing wire, nails and support brackets so history does not repeat itself.

Sit with Well-behaved Children During Religious Services
OK, just give up. There will be giggles no matter the age of your kids. Notes will be written and phones will secretly be checked along with members of the opposite sex in the surrounding pews. Again, I am not totally innocent during the hour of worship. I will be going over my unfinished holiday to-do list in my head and wondering why I didn’t add “Make snow angels for two hours, eat a whole roll of cookie dough, and snuggle” on my list like Buddy did in the movie, Elf.

Ultimately, I hope that during peaceful moments of reflection and praise, I mentally put a big “X” through all the wants, needs and have-to-dos. Instead I’ll write at the top of my list, “REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE BLESSED”.


Mary Helen Darah is an award-winning columnist who has appeared in numerous publications in the Toledo area and beyond. Her column, The Mother of Mayhem, publishes on ProMedica HealthConnect the first of each month.