They sneak up on us. They get even the best of us.
And no, I’m not taking about the novel by Charles Dickens. I’m talking about what we expect of ourselves, our families and the general holiday season. This year everyone will be happy. This year everyone will be ecstatic with their gifts. No one will be sick. No one will have travel problems. No one will forget something terribly important, like Uncle Fester’s present, the rolls still in the oven or the lines for the Christmas eve drama.
This year, you think, will be different. This year it will snow at the right time, bringing atmosphere but not treacherous driving conditions. This year you’re going to hit a home run worthy of jewelry store commercials with your gift. This year you’ll make all of the holiday events you’ve always wanted to attend and enjoy every one. This year the cat will leave the tree alone and the dogs will not ingest tinsel. This year you’ll take the family picture and everyone’s eyes will be open and you will all look like you’re enjoying the exercise… and each other.
This year it will be perfect.
Or maybe not. Who knew she was kidding when she said she wanted oven mitts for Christmas?
I’m no soothsayer, but I suspect you won’t have the perfect Christmas. Mainly because there’s never been one. That is, if your expectation is for everything to go according to your best plans, for no detours, no slip-ups, no unexpected thing to mar your heavenly peace.
Holding to hopes and dreams is a fine thing but they have to be held lightly. If you hold tightly to your expectation that things must be one certain way then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and unhappiness. Things happen. Germs spread. Gift givers cannot read minds. Cats cannot resist reaching for the star(s).
So enjoy this holiday season in the best way you are able. You may decide to cut back on some commitments. You may decide that it’s the year for trying new things. Whatever you do and however you celebrate, hold it lightly. Hold to your hopes and dreams but leave room for the serendipity of the unexpected. Sometimes it’s the things you didn’t plan that become the memories you treasure most.
Or, in the cases of the germs… maybe not.