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Merry, merry, very imperfect Christmas

by Meagan Francis on December 25, 2011

It’s been a long, messy, noisy weekend.

I don’t have any pictures of the Christmas pageant at church last night. Due to a confluence of errors (I would say a “comedy of errors” but I’m not quite there yet) we were 10 minutes late for church, and the kids almost didn’t get to be in the pageant at all. Considering my 8 year-old, Will, was cast as “God” and had been practicing his lines all day, he was pretty distraught.

Yes, I lost my temper with my husband. Yes, I pouted in the car on the way, yes, I came close to wanting to yell “THAT’S IT! CHRISTMAS IS RUINED!”

But I didn’t. I held it together, I took some deep breaths, I marched into the church with my brood during the fourth hymn and burst into “Hark The Herald Angels” just as though I’d been there the whole time. Still ruffled in spirit, yes. But Christmas carols can overcome a multitude of irrational car flip-outs.

In the end it all worked out and the boys got to be in the play after all (though I was too mentally flustered to get photos by that point.)

After that we went out for pizza and came home to open our family Christmas Eve gift – a puzzle and gourmet popcorn – but I only got one photo…

…before the camera completely died. And we couldn’t find the battery charger.

Soon after, two of my boys, in their excitement to get to bed before Santa came, decided to save time by going to the bathroom at the same time. Streams crossed. There was significant urinary deflection and splashback. Owen’s brand-new Lego Star Wars PJ bottoms were a casualty. (also, the floors.)

Jon and I were up until midnight or so trying to get gifts assembled and stockings in place, working around a two-year-old girl who’d had a late nap in the car and absolutely refused to sleep. But we still managed to get to bed before it was too ridiculously late.

This morning we snapped just a few fuzzy Instagram photos (still haven’t found the camera battery.)

I can’t give a play-by-play of the gift opening. It was early and I was as mentally fuzzy as the photos.



Maybe all I need is those few fuzzy photos to remember the real highlights of this very imperfectly wonderful Christmas weekend. Not every gift was a slam-dunk, but the kids were appreciative of what they got. Not every plan went off without a hitch, but in the end we came home happy to be all together.

And even if I don’t have a memory card packed with photos of the events, there are some things I know I’ll never quite forget. Like a couple of hours ago, when my six-year-old Owen clasped his arms my neck and assured me that this was “the best Cwistmas ever.”

I hope you have some similarly wonderful moments, etched on your heart if not on a hard drive. Merry imperfectly perfect Christmas.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa December 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Thanks for this post, it’s exactly where I am most of the time! I always feel like we’re struggling to get photos no matter how organized I am – even when things are at their best. This Christmas morning we were truly understaffed, just hubby & me with the 3 year old triplets while our teen was still with her dad. It was all we could do just keep a handle on the overall chaos and interacting with the kids. Nobody had hands for a camera. We didn’t even try. Thankfully we had a second chance for a photo once the 2nd round came and our teen was home. I’m learning to adjust my expectations with every event and try to take advantage of any opportunity to get photos if we have the luxury of a 1 adult to 1 triplet ratio or better.


Adventures In Babywearing December 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Dude. I was in the worst mood yesterday but I was tired. The night before I was in the ER with Carter- severe allergic reaction to a cookie with nuts in it. OH, and while we were in triage? I discovered he also had lice.

I was so tired and also too worried about the lice thing that we missed the Christmas Eve service altogether. But I have to say your late/car ride to church is a COMMON scene just on Sundays for us LOL.

Merry Christmas!



RookieMom Heather December 26, 2011 at 6:53 am

Ha! Yes, I had a Christmas is ruined tantrum to my husband after our carousel ride / Santa visit gone wrong. I’m reminded of the Modern Family where Phil cancels Christmas. It’s a success if we remember not to do that.


SusanP December 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I love this! We had our ups and downs this weekend too. As predicted, we ended up with sick kids again. This time my two girls (3, 20mo) were hit — woke up Saturday morning with super nasty runny noses and coughs. They were whiney and clingy and I wasn’t about to expose the congregation to their poorly shielded coughs and sneezes. I didn’t like the idea of splittling up on Christmas Eve for several hours so our plan to attend the children’s mass were thrown out the window. The dinner I made ended up being served 2 hours late since my youngest wanted to sit on my lap all day. Other than that Saturday was actually a really nice day. We opened some gifts that morning and we were all in mostly good spirits. While on one hand I thought it was super sweet that my 7yo still truly believes in Santa – it was not so charming that he was still awake looking for him at 11. When he finally was in a deep sleep, we quickly set everything out and crashed. Sunday the girls’ moods were even worse from being sick, and my 7yo spent a good part of the day in a bad mood from being over tired. He was happy with his gifts but if he couldn’t find the right lego piece he needed or something like that it was massive drama. I had tried to make dinner as stress free as possible by getting our first ever precooked ham. I stuck it in the oven at 3 after reading the directions very carefully (275, tightly covered in foil, 12min/lb). Well, when I pulled it out at 5 and stuck a meat thermometer in, I realized it was not warm at all. After some troubleshooting with more thermometers, my husband concluded that our electric oven does not keep temp well at such a low setting. Grrr. He pumped it up to 325 and it was 7:45 before we all sat down to dinner. I had my mini meltdown somwhere about 6:30 when I started giving the baby some leftover frozen pizza from Friday night. My 7yo was grating on my nerves (“I’m huuuuuungry, when are we going to eeeeeeeat”), the girls were both whiney and miserable and constantly covered in snot, I was hungry since I skipped lunch anticipating a big feast at 5:30. So I DID yell “This Christmas is ruined. Why can’t we ever have a good Christmas!!!! Waaaaa!”. My 5yo saved the day by coming over and giving me a great big hug and rubbing my back. He was angelic the whole day and I told him later when I tucked him in that he was the bright spot of my day :-) I feel a little better today but last night I honestly thought, why do we even bother with holidays. There is always some curveball to dodge. As I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, I was fantasizing that next year we should just book a vacation far far away to a place where we won’t have to lift a finger.


Amy Suardi @ Frugal Mama December 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Hi Meagan,

I’m sure most of us had a Christmas similar to yours. You tell such a good story, and you are so refreshingly honest about your feelings.

Thanks for sharing your imperfect holiday with us — you clearly have your heart in the right place!



Ann December 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Your Christmas sound very similar to ours! There was some parental bickering and some things that didn’t go according to plan but overall it was a good day and the kids loved it – you can’t ask for any more.


Tragic Sandwich December 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

This sounds so familiar!

Baguette has a cold and is not up to her usual cheer, holiday or otherwise. We went over to her grandparents’ house for dinner, and for the first time in over a year took no pictures there at all. In fact, we have no photos from Christmas this year!


Audra December 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm

“Merry Imperfect Christmas” was the title of the sermon at my church on Christmas Eve. I appreciated this and tried to listen as I wrangled my 3 year old. The minister reminded us that the very first Christmas was FAR from perfect.


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