Throwing “Perfect” Out the Window this Christmas

Yes, I am a Type A, with a touch of OCD (in some ways), person who loves Christmas and all of the usual things I do in preparation for it, am throwing “perfect” out the window this holiday season.

  • Cut down our Christmas tree and decorate it – CHECK!
  • Christmas Shopping – CHECK!
  • Crafts with the kiddo – CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, and CHECK!

And that’s about all we’re doing that is the “usual” to make our new and improved version of the “perfect” Christmas this year.

In past years, I would decorate every room of the house just “perfectly,” bake at least 5 kinds of Christmas cookies from scratch, make tons of crafts, wrap all of the presents in boxes perfectly dressed with Christmas wrapping with paper and pretty bows, go out to visit everyone at their homes for their holiday parties and meals, split our time on the holiday itself between families, and I cleaned constantly to make sure the house was in perfect condition with all of it’s pretty decorations just in case someone were to stop by unexpectedly. I mean, if I went through all that trouble to deck the halls to look just “perfect,” I want the house to be clean and presentable for all to see, as well, right?

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Well not this year. Yes, we WILL still have a “perfect” Christmas because I have found that my idea of perfect has changed. Over the past few weeks I’ve done things different  than usual:

  • The Christmas is not in the front of the house, like usual, by the windows because I got so irritated last year by constantly picking up ornaments and fixing ribbon that the dogs knocked off. Instead, we have my daughter’s Discovery Kids Cardboard Play Castle that we colored in and decorated with Christmas lights, garland, and hung our stockings on sitting in front of the window.
  • I wrapped all of our friends and extended family’s presents in bags. I’ll still wrap my loves’ – my daughter and my boyfriend – in boxes with pretty wrapping paper and bows because that is way more fun for my daughter to open on Christmas morning.
  • I decorated the playroom as usual but the rest of the house has just a few decorations here and there.
  • I bought sugar cookies – Otterbein Sugar Cookies are the best sugar cookies I’ve ever had anyway, and I used Nestle Toll House pre-made cookie dough for our chocolate chip cookies. I won’t be making oatmeal raisin cookies this year or my usual peppermint chocolate chip cookies. I will still make peanut butter Reece’s Pieces cookies for my boyfriend but they will be the only ones I will do from scratch.
  • We’re doing the activities that we always do at Christmastime but we’re now doing some of them on days that we wouldn’t usually do them on, such as visiting the lights on 34th Street in Hampden in the middle of the week instead of on a weekend. Having to split my daughter’s time with her father has taught me to go with the flow as far as that goes and it turns out it’s not so bad!
  • I only clean when I feel like it. It is still at least once a week, but it’s not the former 3 or 4 times a week that takes up a lot of time. I’ve also allowed the folding table to stay set up for over a week now for working on wrapping gifts and making crafts. In the past I would put it away and take it out only when I needed. The little one likes to do her art stuff and coloring at it anyway since it is bigger than her toddler table that she’s outgrown.
  • While we are still making cookies and crafts, we’re not doing as many.
  • On Christmas morning, I won’t have the Bloggie out filming our daughter as she hurries down the steps, we will be hurrying with her, instead.
  • Photos this holiday season, fun is the new perfect. Photos don’t have to be have everyone in the perfect with the perfect kind of smile or expression on their face. There also won’t be as many photos taken as usual. This is partially in thanks to the new Camera I was given for my birthday – a Nikon J1 Compact DSLR camera – and partially because that’s just the new way of things. With my new camera I will get much better shots the first time instead of relying on my old Olympus camera or my iPhone 4s. So, less photo taking it is so there will be more of 100% attention given to our daughter.
  • The Elf on the Shelf – well, if she doesn’t get moved one night then according to my little girl it will be because Zoe, the elf, liked where she was sitting the day before so much that she wanted to hang out there for another day.
  • We are not going to be splitting our time on Christmas Day anymore, not until our daughter is much older, anyway. We learned the hard way in past years that young Children should be at home on Christmas (in our opinion, for our child). She gets to open all of these fun gifts, she should get to stay and play with them – that’s the fun part of Christmas for kids, after all. Our daughter is our world so we need to put her first sometimes and this will be one of them. It also maximizes the amount of time we get to really spend with her since we will not have to spend part of the day driving.
  • Stemming off of not splitting our time visiting our families on the holiday, we will be welcoming everyone to our house for Christmas dinner. We’re staying home because of the little one so please, come see us, oh but bring a dish, too, please. Yep – we’re doing a pot luck style Christmas meal. Making a few main dishes and asking others coming to bring a dish or two is making dinner prep a whole lot less stressful and people really don’t seem to mind helping out, so why not do it that way. 🙂

It turns out that the perfect Christmas holiday season is not one that is filled with all of the usual things and every tradition. The perfect Christmas holiday season is one that lets you enjoy the holiday season without running around like crazy and without being stressed and without feeling you have to do everything. The perfect Christmas holiday is one where you get to thoroughly enjoy the time you spend together, and have lots of it.

Nothing needs to be the old perfect - not even the photos!

Nothing needs to be the old perfect – not even the photos!

One last thing that we are doing that is so not a norm for people. Since our daughter will be with her father for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, we are making Christmas day OUR Christmas EVE. Santa will be coming back out on Christmas night for kids with two homes – that way we can still have the fun and excitement of leaving cookies and milk for Santa and the fun of having her wake up and get us up early on OUR Christmas morning (the 26th) to run downstairs and find out what Santa left. Hey, who says that holidays have to be celebrated ON the actual day, anyway? Santa is a magical man, he can come out again if we wish hard enough for him to do so. And that way, we still get to have the full, proper holiday with our daughter.

So far, I am LOVING the new and improved (and less stressful) “perfect” holiday and I think I will be looking for even more ways to cut back on stress next year!

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The Elf on the Shelf – Night 8

News to me, but apparently out in stores since 2001, is the DVD that can accompany the Elf on A Shelf. The DVD is sold in stores where the Elves are sold as well as online at Amazon.com, Target.com, and more. We bought An Elf’s Story shortly after we bought our Elf on the Shelf and we put the DVD away for a night when we knew we could take it easy the next morning and didn’t have anywhere to go. That was finally this morning!

Tonight night Zoe, our Elf on the Shelf flew back to the North Pole and brought the An Elf’s Story DVD back with her. Zoe even took the DVD and put it in our PlayStation 3 so it was all set up and ready to go in the morning as soon as Nikki got up and discovered the surprise. Zoe grabbed the PlayStation 3 controller and sat it in her lap with a note that read, “Play me Nikki” So Nikki will know to turn the controller on and press play to see the surprise.

041For those of you that don’t know, An Elf’s Story is about a little Elf names Chippey that is given a special job by Santa Claus himself to go to the home of a boy who isn’t sure if he believes in Santa anymore or not. Chippey is charged with the special task of making the boy a believer and when the boy teases his sisters and ends up accidentally touching Chippey, taking his Christmas magic away, well…we don’t want to give it all away. You’ll have to get the movie to check it out for yourself. Your little Elf lovers will love it!

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The Elf on the Shelf – Night 7

Even elves need to eat!

Zoe, our Elf on the Shelf, got a little hungry so she sat down with a bowl of Apple Jacks cereal for the night. I can’t wait for our little one to see where she is tomorrow morning! She’ll get to dine with her at every meal. She’ll be just tickled about it. 🙂

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I think to make it a little more fun, I’ll change Zoe’s food with each meal that our daughter sits down to ear with her. I know, I know, we cannot touch the Elf on the She;f or else she will lose her Christmas magic that allows her to fly back to the North Pole and find a new place to hang out every day when she returns…but I CAN touch things around her. I can simply use that spool to scoop the cereal out and put something else in it’s place at each meal time.

It really is so much fun seeing our little one’s reactions every morning when she looks for and finds how her Elf on the Shelf is set up!

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The Elf on the Shelf – Night 6

This evening we spent an hour or so working on a Christmas craft that my daughter wants to make for some friends and family members – sock snowmen. Yep, sock snowmen! You stuff white socks with rice, tie off the top their two or three sections with ribbon, dress them with other decorative socks that have been cut apart, stick half of an orange toothpick in the middle of the face as a nose, and use a Sharpie marker to draw on eyes. (You can add on buttons and other little accessories with hot glue but being that Nikki is only five years old we’re keeping it simple).

Anyway, the little one has five of our sock snowmen made so far and they are all lined up in a cute way on one of her toy storage shelves so…Zoe, our Elf on the Shelf, decided to hang out with the snowmen for tonight and tomorrow. 🙂

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Coming up with these Elf on the Shelf ideas is SO much fun! Oh yeah…and I found another place that Elf on teh Shelf can be purchased today – Barnes & Noble book stores.

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