Deck the Halls with All my Baggage Fa Lalalala

There’s nothing quite like the holidays to bring out all your bitterness and deep-rooted sin problems. I know, I know… nobody but Scrooge McDuck wants to read something that shatters the illusion of the jolly holidays which is why I waited until after Christmas to punch pinterest in the face. I have taken a long sabbatical from blogging and household chores and really all my responsibilities and it just felt wrong not posting one last time before the new year. Perhaps posting this little truth bomb here will help me leave my cranky pants in 2017. Alright, here’s how it’s all going to go down. I am going to be really honest. If my honesty in previous posts tends to make you gasp and cover your mouth with a gloved churchlady hand, then it’s okay to not read this blog ever again particular post. It won’t hurt my feelings yes it will but I’m aware that I’m sort of like dark chocolate. A tad bitter for some people. Although, I don’t really even love dark chocolate myself, because it’s a little too pretentious and classy and definitely should be sweeter. Maybe I’m more like Pop Rocks, delightfully youthful and somewhat unexpected, but definitely not for everyone. If you love my zany Pop Rocks ways and you find my honesty refreshing, relatable and supes adorbs, then I cordially invite you to kick back with a packet of really odd candy and enjoy the fireworks.

Ok, I have mixed so many metaphors at this point that I am not even sure what’s happening.

Ahh yes, all my baggage.

I have to say going into this that I have come a verrrrrry long way since this post in 2012 where I explained Why I am Done Pretending to Like Christmas. In fact, the past two years have been full of deep, genuine, joyful anticipation of Christmas. Still, there was this nagging sense that somewhere around the edges of the holiday season, there is a dark, looming fog that threatens to consume the progress I have made.

I notice the cloud creeping in from the edges every time I see the picture perfect images that people post about their own holidays. You know what I am talking about… Those Facebook posts that are basically a list of ways people are being awesome. Like, literally people are posting accomplishment checklist. Still not sure what I am talking about? Allow me:

Chores all done: check! Kids all reading (above grade-level) in their tidy and quiet bedrooms: check! Free-range, organic dinner in the crockpot (smells amazing btw): check! Errands run, house cleaned, diy decorations up, rose gold mason jars polished, marriage on fleek, personal sin problems resolved: check, check and check! All by 10:00 am! #blessed #adulting

How ‘bout hashtag gag me.

I know, I know… I sound jealous and petty and bitter. Yes, that’s fair. Guilty as charged, I am a dash of each of those things when I read those perfect Pinterest posts. But, I also feel sorry for the person posting it. And I feel sorry for me. And for America. Because doesn’t our country have enough problems without people gushing over these braggy checklists?

I just don’t buy it. Unless people out there are living in an entirely different universe than me, I really cannot conceive of this kind of day. Now, it is entirely possible that there are only four of you out there that can relate to me on this – and I am just a hot mess while the rest of you are fanning yourselves with tiny DIY pallet wood fans. But I have to believe that I am not the only one who had to wash tomato soup off their puppy this holiday season. I can’t be the only one who didn’t have time to arrange my vintage, heirloom ornaments on my Etsy tree skirt to post a magical instapic while I was taking my tree down. Because I am a sinner, and I put my Christmas ornaments away like everyone else – in a panic, right before a party, wrapping everything in tissue paper from the 1700’s. My process is not photoworthy. Not even the low-fi filter can make my Rubbermaid bins look idyllic.

I just started liking Christmas guys. And now that I finally like Christmas, I scroll through social media and find out that I am bad at Christmas. And at life.

But, deep down, I know that it’s all an illusion. This world has told us that we have to hide away our reality in order to present a more palatable version of our lives. We value “being authentic” as long as everyone accepts that “authenticity” on Instagram means “I wear quirky hats.”  

So, I thought that I would kick the Pinterest illusion in the nuts this year by capturing my true Christmas. I also took an exorbitant amount of time to also try to capture the really idyllic images as well, just to remind us all that spending 45 minutes to crop/filter dust and clutter out of a pretty picture doesn’t change reality. Before I share my pictures, I just want to say that I celebrate Christmas because I believe that the Creator God conjured up a wild redemption plan that included a cast of unlikely characters (eh hem, an unmarried teenage girl) to bring forth a savior who chose to leave paradise to come to earth through a lowly birth in a stable. He did all this to set the world free - free from our sin problems, free from comparison, free from fear of man, free from the world's expectations for us to keep up. But, he also came to set us free to enjoy things as he intended them to be enjoyed. So, there is nothing but freedom to wear that fedora while you handcraft a micro-wreath made from salvaged driftwood. Just make sure you are doing it because you really love driftwood, not because Instagram makes you feel like the wreath you have isn't good enough. 

My front door:


What's lurking just behind my front door:


Let's take a closer look...


Yes, that is one cheetah print fake nail. 


My elegant and regal puppy:


Drinking the tree water...


covered in tomato soup...


and licking the broken candlestick (the shards of which I was vacuuming during the tomato soup incident of 2017)


1,000 hours spent cleaning and decorating to achieve these next pictures, plus a bonus of banishing the children outside and spazzing out every time they walk in the door.


And what it looked like for five days before those above pics:


Puppy in ugly Christmas sweater:


Which she wore for 30 seconds and then reverse-birthed herself out of.


Hand-dipped and decorated chocolate covered Oreos and gift cards for teacher gifts:


Not Pictured: A long string of texts between one particular teacher and myself in which I had to apologize for violently threatening a bystander, and for my child going through her purse. #Mombarrassment 

Fancy Christmas hairstyles:


Actual Christmas hairstyles (plus zero ability to keep eyes open in a photograph)


Note below - London's blue teeth (I believe from a candy cane eaten the previous day), Harper's egg-shaped hair about 3 months past due for a shape-up, Jay all weapon-ready with his war-face on, and Tom's mustache so thick that when I kiss him it feels like I am getting smacked in the face with a Christmas tree branch.


Attempting to take a nice picture of London, and she gives me a 90's rap album cover:


And our family Christmas picture. We were so close to getting that perfect image and I thought we got it, until I zoomed in on Jay doing the Michael Jackson scream from the Black or White video. 


This is Christmas. And life really. It's beautiful, and messy, and hilarious and slightly disturbing. A least that's how my Christmas - my life - has always been. Maybe yours is tidier than mine. But don't go feeling bad about yourself if it's not. Jesus came into this mess of a world for our freedom. May your 2018 be filled with joy and mess and enough freedom to find the beauty in the chaos, whether it's handcrafted or not.