MTL Christmas - Page 47

my home My husband came into the room and peered over my shoulder to look at the project I was working on—this year’s Christmas photo. I loved the quick picture that my brother took of us and our kids. We were packing up from our week in the snow, and I stopped everyone in the midst of stowing luggage in the cars to gather us for one last picture. And that picture? It was perfect. Everyone was there. (And with six of us, all adults, that can sometimes be a trick.) Everyone was smiling. No one was looking bored or like it was painful to stand next to his sister. We were all in our snow clothes, looking about as Christmas-y as our rag tag group was ever going to look. There was only one problem: the ice scraper. What I’d missed when we were in the moment was that our youngest, Kimber, had been right in the middle of scraping ice off the windows of everyone’s cars. So when we gathered for the photo, there Kimber was, smack dab in the middle of the group, with a neon yellow ice scraper in her hand. And I knew I had to get rid of that ice scraper. But my husband? He couldn’t see the big deal. New Year’s Eve? The ones who swapped out their everyday china for hand-painted Christmas china for the month of December and placed their order for their organically-raised turkey in August to be delivered on December 23. Me? I have ice scrapers in the middle of my Christmas card. That was five years ago. I sent that card to over a hundred people around the country. We got a ton of comments on how much fun our vacation looked and how much the kids had grown. You know what we didn’t get any comments on? The ice scraper. What do I remember about that year? The fun trip we had with the whole family to Lake Tahoe. I remember my kids and husband trying snowboarding for the first time (and my husband not being able to walk upright for two days afterwards). I remember that it was warm enough outside on Christmas Eve that Roger and I made s’mores on our back patio. But sadly, the thing I remember most was my angst over the yellow ice scraper. Oh how often does a small detail distract us from the beauty of Christmas? The broken dish. The gift we couldn’t find. The gift we didn’t get. All the things that can ruin our perfect Christmas. For more from Kathi Lipp, check out Get Yourself Organized for Christmas on “So what? It’s tiny. No one will even notice it,” he said. But, as every woman knows, even if no one else will notice it, I noticed it. And this card was going to set the tone for the rest of the holiday season. So I spent an afternoon trying to get rid of the ice scraper, and everything I tried just made the picture look odd. It was right after Thanksgiving, and I knew there was no time to get everyone together again for another family photo. So I had a decision to make: do I skip sending out cards this year or send out the less-than-picture-perfect picture. It felt like I already had one strike against me in the Christmas department. Why-oh-why couldn’t I be like some of my friends who had their Christmas act together. You know, the ones who get their Christmas portraits together in July and have their decorations up on Black Friday and down on Ho� often does a small detail distract us from the beauty of Christmas But what if we took that imperfection and, instead of letting it spoil everything about the holiday, we let it set us free from the idea of perfect that can get us so twisted up. When I was a little girl in the seventies, both of my parents were into the hobby that was the latest rage—stained glass. My parents had a chandelier that was all tan and brown stained glass pieces, and they worked on a variety of other smaller projects for years. One day I went to a tiny store front with my parents so they could pick up some supplies for their next project. While the owner was gathering their materials, I wandered over to his wife to look at the project she was working on. It was a window of stained glass in the design of a hummingbird— and it was breathtaking. I loved how the picture used all of my favorite seven-year-old colors—purples and blues, pinks and greens. (So much better than all the boring brown that / MTL Magazine 47