In Praise of Ordinary Christmasses

by Leonie Dawson on December 25, 2012

Hola dearhearts,

I’m not sure what it is I need to say, and yet I know I must say it.

Sitting here, Christmas afternoon.

By way of a tiny little Christmas miracle, I managed to help Ostara to take a nap (her first one in MONTHS) by reading the same book over and over again, slowly and quietly, until I think I bored her into sleepland. My love naps beside me, the dogs beside him. Outside the cicadas are singing together, the windchimes are belling in the breeze. It is hot and feels like rain. A true tropical Christmas.

And I want to say:

I hope you are having a merry Christmas filled with love and kindness and laughter

but I also want to say:

It’s okay if you’re not. Truly, it’s okay.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be good. Whatever it needs to be, it is.

I think for a long time I hunted and yearned and grieved over Christmasses being imperfect. How in some way, how good one single day was would be the measurement of my life.

But it’s not. It’s truly not.

The measurement of my life is the ordinary days. The little moments adding up with each other to culminate in a life well loved.

I want to say it’s okay if things aren’t perfect. If you don’t have everyone together. If you don’t have a big, happy, functional extended family (or any kind of family at all). If everyone isn’t happy. If the kids are whiny or you are whiny or there are no kids and instead of noise there is silence.

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.

You’re not broken, you are whole.

Christmas wasn’t meant to be anything but what it is:

Whatever appears for you. Whatever your day is composed of right now.

Whatever happens.

Sometimes it can be so hard to actually just genuinely relax and have fun and enjoy when there’s so much external pressure for Christmas to be HAPPY! FULL OF FAMILY! PERFECTLY COMPOSED! NO PROBLEMS EVER!

And the pressure builds up until we inevitably feel overwhelmed, crabby and heartsick at why our life doesn’t look like the way we think others’ lives are.

(Extra resources: I like what Sarah Wilson said yesterday about Christmasses: that without fail, she cries at each one just from the build up of energy. The ever lovely Ask Moxie also shares a free guide for parents going through a divorce this Christmas.)

If nothing more, Christmas serves as a time for us to pause in the stillness before another year begins. To look back and see what just happened. The blessings and the shit and the hard stuff and the miracles, all tied together in a bundle of a year. Who you were a year ago. Who you are now. You might be feeling a little more war-torn but I can bet a hundred bucks you are wiser, deeper and lovelier than you could ever know.

That’s all my darlings.

Wherever you are:

in the midst of the BEST DAY EVER or the Shittiest Crapfest of the Century or something I like to call a Festival of Awkward, or something in between:

I want you to know you’re okay. You’re whole. Everything is going to be okay. It’s okay for things to be how they are today.

Your whole life is waiting for you. All the ordinary days to come.

And it’s going to be bloody beautiful.

Stretching my arms out wide,