So very much of our lives as women are colored by feelings that Everything Must be Perfect…

Perfect body! Perfect face! Perfect hair! Perfect home! Perfect clothes!
and
Perfect holidays!

Must buy the perfect gift!
Must bake the perfect cookies!
Must have the perfect decorations!
Must fit into the perfect sparkly dress!
Must find the perfect shoes to go with the perfect sparkly dress!
Must research the perfect wine to pair with the perfect holiday meal!

Joy! Peace! Love! Family! Tradition!
Who has time for any of that when
there is so much to be prepared, fixed up and/or improved?
I can’t possibly go to a party unless I slim down!
I can’t possibly have friends over until my house is spotless!
Everything must be just right before I will give myself permission to enjoy.
Perfection is not only impossible to achieve, it’s exhausting!

Joy

But joy brings energy instead of exhaustion.
Joy doesn’t need any work to be achieved.
Joy simply finds it’s way into life when you let go of the need to be perfect.

Joy happens when you can laugh instead of apologize,
accept instead of reject, show compassion instead of criticism.

This doesn’t mean that things cannot be improved!
Of course they can.
Making positive changes and positive choices to improve your life can also be a source of joy.

But instead of waiting for some magical future when everything is already perfect:
Remember that right this very minute you can enjoy whatever already is.

So you don’t look like a model?
Women of all shapes and sizes, with average hair and skin,
have been known to have a great time at holiday parties (even without the perfect dress and shoes!)

• Your house is a bit shabby?
A shabby house filled with friends, family and laughter contains more joy than any photo in a magazine.

• You don’t have the time and/or skills to bake/sew/craft gifts for those you love?
Your friends and family know you love them, whether you craft them a gift or not.

You just can’t afford the gifts that your children are begging for?
The greatest gifts are the happy memories you create spending time together.
(just ask any adult: happy childhood memories are rarely about the gifts!)

Yes, an excellent meal with the right bottle of wine, beautiful decorations and lovely gifts
contribute to a good time, bring pleasure and create fond memories.

But in the end,
the perfect holidays are not really about the stuff you are making yourself crazy over.
It’s about the joy you experience in your heart and in your home.

Wishing you and those you love much joy!

Elizabeth

Related post:
My cry-in-the-car holiday meltdown  while shopping for the “perfect gifts”, includes the original pencil sketch for the above illustration. 

(note: this is re-posted from the archives! )