When Your Christmas Isn’t Perfect

I think when we think of our Christmas celebrations, we tend to think of the Hollywood version of what Christmas should be like.  I fall into this trap as well, but what about when Christmas isn’t perfect? How do you make a perfectly un-perfect Christmas?

Every year I get sucked right into the Hallmark Christmas movies. I just can’t help myself. I love the heartwarming stories, the romance, the towns that have large elaborate celebrations, everything about it.  My husband just rolls his eyes and watches TV in another room, lol. There’s one problem with this view of Christmas, the perfection is unattainable in reality, especially with a toddler in the picture.

Santa Claus is “ocming town”

When I was young, I was shopping with my parents and we bought this new tree skirt with a cute stuffed Santa on it.  It was all folded up on a card, so we really couldn’t see much more than that.  We got it home, ripped the tags off, and put it under the tree.  Once it was under the tree we stood back to see the perfect tree and new tree skirt and read the words embroidered on the skirt.  It says “Santa Claus is ocming town.  That’s not my typo, that’s how it came from the store.


My mom kept it because we had a good laugh about it. Each year we would sing “Santa Claus is coming to town”, but would change the words to match the tree skirt.  It became our little family joke, with us laughing and joking about the tree skirt.  This went on for years, and then about 4 years ago, my mom got a new tree skirt. I couldn’t let it go, it’s quirky and funny, so I took the old one home with me and have continued to use it.

Remembering the imperfections

For me, it brings back those goofy memories with my sister, singing the typo and being silly. As I have gotten upset the past couple of years that our Christmas wasn’t the perfect celebration that I imagine in my head, my husband has pointed to the tree skirt.  How can you be upset that you don’t have everything perfect when you have a perfect example of an imperfect Christmas sitting in front of you.  Now, every time I look at my beautiful imperfect tree skirt, I remember the fun I had with my family, and I remember that sometimes it’s the imperfect things that make Christmas most memorable.

I mean, really, how many of us remember everything that went right? We remember the fun and crazy things that happen that aren’t planned.  We remember the giant snow storms, the games, and the crazy fun with family.  Having a perfect celebration isn’t the end all be all.

I think there’s a piece of all of us that strives for absolute perfection, especially for those Type A mom’s out there.  We want the perfect tree, the perfect ugly sweater party, or the perfect gifts.  While some of these might be easily attainable, it’s so easy to get lost in the details that you miss out on the fun and wonder of Christmas.

Through a toddler’s eyes

One of the easiest ways I have given up some control of creating the “perfect Christmas” is by seeing it through my daughter’s eyes.  This is her third Christmas, but the first year she has really been excited to see Santa or Christmas lights on houses. She is in LOVE with our Christmas tree and has rearranged the ornaments on the bottom branches many times already.   Last year I did the whole gate around the tree thing, which works amazingly well, but this year, I wanted her to really get to experience it for herself.


Through wanting her to really experience the wonder of Christmas, I gave up some control. Not an easy task…. at all.  So, when we put up our tree, I gave her the plastic ornaments that she couldn’t break, and let her decorate the bottom of the tree. This resulted in all the little bulbs being on the bottom of the tree.  Not exactly my vision for the tree, but it works. I also have areas of the tree where there are 2 bulbs on the same branch. She at least put the same colors together for me though.

After letting our daughter help decorate the tree, we decided that we wouldn’t gate it off from her. So it’s been a battle, and we have to continually remind her to leave the tree alone, but she has done quite well.  We still have our big gate, so we knew that if we needed to we could wrap the gate around it and keep her back. So far, so good.

Christmas with a toddler

I think when you have a toddler that goal of perfection is lost. There’s no easy way to have a perfect anything with a toddler undoing everything right behind you.  I have just given up some of the control I wish I had, and I allow her to really enjoy and experience Christmas.

You can refer to the guest post from Cassie, about decorating with a toddler for some amazing tips to help keep your sanity.

There’s so much wonder in seeing my daughter really fall in love with Christmas. We have watched the classic cartoons, and seeing her face light up, or her laughter at these shows is magical.


One other very popular tradition we decided to start is having an Elf on the Shelf.  Our daughter named her elf Jolly Kitty Cat and she loves seeing what Jolly is up to each day. Yes, it’s work to be creative and find new places for the elf to hide can be exhausting, but I absolutely love seeing my daughters reaction to what her elf is doing.

A Christian View of Perfection

It’s easy to look at the commercial view of Christmas and strive to have that Hallmark style Christmas with our family. but when it comes down to looking at through a Christian lens, Christmas wasn’t perfect from the beginning. We may have a perfect God, but the birth of Christ isn’t something that went perfectly. After a long journey to get to Bethlehem, there was no room in the inn, so the Savior was born in a manger.  We can’t deny that from the beginning there is a thread of imperfection that makes Christmas absolutely perfect.

The perfect Christmas is an illusion, how can you enjoy your imperfect Christmas? #christmas

So, this Christmas, let us remember and embrace that Christmas isn’t perfect.

Sending you lots of love this Holiday season from a cold & snowy Michigan.

The Miller Family



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