I Failed at Pinterest but Not at Christmas
This week, I was planning to share this epic DIY ornament post with you. You were gonna pin it and share it with all of your friends, and then you were going to go to the craft store and head back home and make it yourself.
I'm not sure who I thought I was when I was planning to make these blog-worthy DIY ornaments. DIY-ing things is so not my forte — everyone knows that.
I guess I lost myself in Pinterest and the long-lost idea of creating the Christmas I've always dreamed of having.
Before I had kids, I fantasized about adorning my home with a beautiful Christmas tree.
It was going to be 10 feet tall. Artificial, pre-lit with white lights. Filled with crystal ornaments, wrapped in peach ribbons, and adorned with huge velvet bows.
It was the 90s — velvet was a fancy thing.
My entire home would be this expertly matched motif of easily breakable, insanely beautiful, expensive holiday items.
Porcelain-faced Santas. Hand-knitted monogrammed stockings. Live wreaths. A custom-made train. Bavarian nutcrackers. A life-sized nativity scene for my manicured front yard that would be covered in fake snow.
Christmas music would be playing on a constant loop. It would smell like cinnamon, and chocolate chip cookies, and joy, and peace. It would be a holiday experience people would tell their friends and family about.
I would host a professionally catered holiday party each year for 75 of my closest friends to come over and enjoy my festive home with me. We would all drink champagne and wear winter white because ugly holiday sweaters would be too, um, ugly.
I'm pretty sure I thought I was gonna be Janet Jackson when I grew up.
Only here I am, 20 years later, and I am decidedly NOT Janet Jackson.
I do not have a manicured front yard.
Or an expertly designed Christmas motif throughout my home.
Or anything even remotely breakable, because all of that has already been taken care of by my three children or my dog.
I don’t wear winter white, my holiday stockings came from Target, I have at least three “ugly” Christmas sweaters in my closet (What? They're for parties!), and porcelain-faced dolls are creepy.
My tree is stuffed full of mismatched ornaments — some plastic, some glass, some sentimental, many handmade — and, surprisingly, I look at them when I get in my Snuggie each night to watch reality TV and think that every single one of them is beautiful and special and perfect for me.
The grown-up me still loves the beauty of the holidays, but not the kind of beauty you can buy. The kind that comes from the all of the beautiful memories I make, and all of the beautiful moments I enjoy, and all of the beautifully crooked smiles I see on my Dudes' faces when they run home and pull their terribly constructed ornaments from their backpacks for me to hang on the tree.
My teenage self would be mortified by my fleece snowman sweatshirt. She would be ashamed of my homemade gifts, and my DIY wreaths, and the pigs-in-the-blanket hors d'oeuvres I plan to serve when we have friends over next week.
She would also have terrible things to say about my midsection, she would hate every single thing about my big hair, and she would never be caught dead in my crossover SUV.
But that's because she hadn't experienced the joy of the holidays through my super-old adult eyes, which have come to appreciate the things that truly matter in life and the always-in-awe eyes of my still-too-young-to-be-judgy children.
She didn’t believe in magic. She didn't believe in miracles. She didn't believe rocking an ugly holiday sweater to a party would result in anything other than ridicule.
She didn't know that this time of year is meant to celebrate more than just the cool gifts you get and the awesome decorations you can make or buy. She didn't know that it is a time of year to reflect on your blessings, to appreciate the amazing experiences you've had with the people you love, and to thank your lucky stars for all of the awesome you are able to give.
Also, teen me was annoying.
Being able to eat cookies for dinner, listening to whatever music I want in the car, and having hindsight — just a few things that make being a grown up awesome.