Making the most of the holidays requires a gentle tweaking of perception for most of us. The expectations to have fun, wrap the most perfectly coordinated, and thoughtfully selected surprise gifts, with their dangling baubles and bows, to don the perfect party dress, to buff, shine, polish ourselves, our homes, the children….impossible expectations that lead to disappointment. However are we expected to not have a blue Christmas without you, or walk in a winter wonderland when the snow decides not to fall on the very day it’s expect to do just that?
These questions I asked myself this weekend as my sister and I made a divine Thanksgiving dinner for our family. It was easy too. The easiest in years and would have pleased the most discerning pallet. We are both very good cooks. This resounding success was followed by my first attempt ever at a gingerbread house. It was not a success. Three separate batches of gingerbread dough, several template modifications, frosting cement that wouldn’t hold a gnat in place let alone a roof. There was structural failure, some cursing, expert consultation brought in, a constructibility analysis conducted, fortification of the walls and roof with the use of non-edibles, and finally, through sheer force of will, compliance. It’s not pretty, but it is standing. Rumi said:
“Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees.”
I choose to see the beauty in this rigged little gingerbread house. It’s a lot like me, held together by a couple of pieces of duct tape. It’s the strongest stuff. It’ll really get you through the rough patches. I’m sure if I keep practicing I’ll be able to make a decent looking house, but I doubt it will bring a smile to my face and make me laugh out loud the way this half baked attempt most certainly will.
Whether you require a few deep breaths or a sledge hammer to get those expectations to line up to attention. Get out the toolkit – there is joy, and I bet a lot of laugher to be found in the overcooked turkey, the run in the stocking, the gift wrapped in a paper bag and tied with bakery string. Perfection is overrated, joy underserved, life short. Happy start to the holiday season.