Today, on a dreary and rainy December Monday, I got emotional on my way to work while listening to some of my favorite traditional Christmas songs. As the songs played, I couldn't help but remember Christmas when I was a child and how perfect I remember them.

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It's funny, many times, in life, we remember all of the bad things that happen to us. They affect us deeply and sometimes leave deep scares. We focus on the negative and forget all of the wonderful, happy, and amazing times.

When it comes to our memories of Christmas past, it seems like we always remember the love and magic of the times we spent with our families even though we know that the holidays weren't always perfect.

If we think hard enough, we can remember some of the tough times, fights, tragedies and sadness that sometimes happened during the happiest time of year. But, our minds choose to save the warm and happiest memories.

This morning, as I sat in my car listening to the Christmas songs I treasure, I had memories of decorating our family tree. In my mind, I saw my mom and dad, little brother and sister. I felt the love in my heart like I was right their in my childhood living room.

Then, my thoughts went to that fact that I currently need to decorate our Christmas tree. But, I realized, I will be alone this year. My husband doesn't like to decorate the tree and my youngest son is always working and has little desire to help decorate either. Thinking about that made me more sad.

Why? I remember when my kids were little and we would decorate the tree. I was so obsessed, almost OCD, with having the perfectly decorated tree, I wouldn't let the kids help. They so badly wanted to help me, but I just got them a second tree so they could decorate their tree instead of trying to ruin the perfection of mine.

I was SO wrong. Now, I would give anything to have them help me decorate the tree. One, imperfect and beautiful tree that we would decorate together. How ridiculous it was to think that a perfect tree was important. What was important was having them with me, laughing, singing, eating, and just having fun.

Don't make the same mistake I did. Christmas will never be perfect. Lights will go out, ornaments will break, family fights will happen, gifts will break, and cookies will burn. Never put the expectation of perfection in front of your kids. It's just silly. Nobody cares how the tree looks, but you.

Relax and cherish everything about the holidays with your kids when they are young. They grow up so fast. Once you embrace the imperfection, even when you are decorating a tree alone because your kids are grown and decorating their own trees. the perfect love of Christmas will always fill your heart.

Young mother and daughters sitting by a fireplace on Christmas
Getty Images/iStockphoto


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