Friday, December 24, 2010

Have Yourself An OK Little Christmas

Last week I was talking to a friend of mine about how she had always been trying to create the "perfect Christmas" for her and her family, and seemed, to her mind, to be failing at it every time. She could never quite get the magic that she remembered from her childhood and when her now-grown children were younger.

This reminded me of a clip from The Daily Show that my daughter Devra showed me. It was called Even Better Than The Real Thing, and was all about how all these pundits are saying that things were better back in the 80s, the 70s, the 60s, the 50s, the 40s, etc, but when people who actually lived as adults through those eras were interviewed, they told about how many things were wrong back in "the good old days," and that there never was any "golden age" when everything was perfect.

The conclusion that the correspondent for the piece came to was that each of the pundits who referred to a particular time as one when things were "better" was referring to the time when they were kids, and didn't know or have to know all of the gritty stuff that was going on in the larger world around them. So of course things seemed better to them.

So what does this have to do with the price of a bagel in Brooklyn?

When we think of our "perfect Christmases," we almost never remember the ones we had as adults. It's the memories we have from childhood, when we didn't have to do any of the preparation; when Christmas, along with all the presents, all the relatives, and all the food, just sort of magically appeared in front of us, and we participated without really having to help create it. That's why, as adults, the magic seems to fade, and we can't quite get the perfect Christmas anymore...because now we're the ones doing the work behind the scenes to create what will become someone else's memory of a perfect Christmas.

So to all of you and especially my friend, I say, sit back, relax, don't stress yourself out. Don't worry about having or creating a perfect Christmas. Instead, let yourself have an OK one. I'm betting that you'll feel a lot better about it.