In the past, I’ve struggled around the holidays. There’s this underlying pressure surrounding Christmas. We’ve bought into the lie that it’s not enough to simply celebrate the holiday season in the way that works for our family. We look around at all the ideas, pictures, traditions, activities, parties, and events and feel like we MUST. DO. THEM. ALL. And it doesn’t stop there.

We get so busy hiding the elf, baking the treats, making the ornaments, visiting each and every holiday event in our area, watching all the movies, and finding the perfect gifts. And it doesn’t stop there.

We get on Pinterest and see the 3,000 things we pinned to our Christmas board and fill with guilt – believing our kids and family will be missing out because we forgot to make waffles shaped like Christmas trees, we didn’t buy matching plaid pajamas, and we never even stuck cloves in oranges or made ornaments out of cinnamon and applesauce.

We fail to live up to our expectations because our expectations are crazy. We expect every day in December to rain sugarplums, smell like sugar cookies, and be alight with the glow of winter magic and holiday cheer. When in reality, it’s raining water, my house smells like the orange peels my six year old shoved down the couch cushions, and the only thing glowing is the candle I got on sale at Walmart. That’s real life. (And it’s a happy life.) It’s a life that has accepted what IS.

We spend so much time, energy, and resources trying to make things magical that we miss the magic in the ordinary moments happening all around us.

The truth is – the real, imperfect, everyday, mundane life we actually experience day in and day out is pretty darn magical…..we just need to alter our expectations in order to see it.

With the exception of a handful of ornaments, my kids decorated our tree this year. The ornaments are too close together and several I don’t particularly love are front and center. The old me would have “fixed” it after the kids went to bed. I would have wanted that “perfect” tree – not realizing I already had it.

Perfection doesn’t exist. Seriously – hear me on this. Perfect’s not a thing. We miss so much in our pursuit of it.

The tags on the gifts under my tree are all off-center, and typically smack-dab in the center. The writing is smudgy and misspelled. And those very imperfect and messy little gift tags may as well be hand-crafted and written in calligraphy. They’re not perfect. They’re something far better. They’re real.

Plans change. Illness happens. Turkeys dry out. Carefully purchased gifts get chucked on the floor. Things break. Weather causes delays. Kids fight. (Adults fight.) Power goes out. Life happens. Real life. And Christmas still comes.

We expect perfection. We expect our life to look like the end of a Hallmark movie. And when it doesn’t – we miss the moments. We don’t see the beauty…the love…the memories happening all around us because we’re working so hard to create a reality we can’t possibly live up to.

Today I want to encourage you to stop waiting for the perfect moments. Stop wishing that things would be the way you envisioned. Learn to accept your day to day reality as the beautifully imperfect blessing it is. Relish and enjoy the everyday wonder going on around you. Smile in the midst of the mess. Become comfortable with mistakes and less than perfect results. Don’t let moments to simply “do life” with your family slip by as you allow your disappointments and unmet expectations to take control. Stop waiting for the perfect day, and simply enjoy the day you have, imperfections and all.