18th December: We are not the Waltons

Such a fitting mantra for this time of year, especially last night when we decorated the tree together as a family!

Getting a tree perfectly straight in its holder is no easy task, let alone with a two-year old and five-year old trying to 'help', crawling under the tree, diving into delicate decorations boxes, standing on stools and generally being overzealous and overexcited in everything they could possibly do. Don't get me wrong, I delight in the excitement that is pouring from their wee beings just now but let's just say that emotions were running a little higher last night and a lot of self control was required on my and my husband's part.

Looking at the big picture though, how a tree is decorated is not really incredibly important and is not really the point of today's post. Christmas is a time when emotions run high, regardless of what we're doing or where we are. This time of year evokes every sort of emotion: joy, anticipation, excitement, stress, anxiety, sadness and frustration....the list goes on. With everyone feeling one or a combination of these, plus the additional tasks and activities, expectations and being in close proximity to one another, is it any wonder that people fall out or find themselves feeling cross with or disappointed by someone?!

So as my vision of the House & Garden Christmas tree swiftly vanished into a distant memory last night I reminded myself that we are a real family full of real people with different approaches. It is likely that these approaches will conflict quite a lot of the time, especially so at Christmas while the children are so young. It wasn't the stereotypical, joyful Christmas tree-dressing activity that I had had in mind but it really didn't matter because in many ways it was better. It was the four of us bumbling along, doing something together and managing it without shouting and disliking one another at the end of it.

We are not the Waltons and nor is any other family, especially at Christmas. We have enough pressures on us at this time of year that to expect us all to behave perfectly is an unrealistic expectation too far. So love everyone for who they are and what they bring to the party and don't get wound up if they don't all sit still at the dinner table, decide to hide under the tree or disappear off to be on their own. Christmas Day is real life too!

Door 18 of the Woman Next Door's advent calendar.

Door 18 of the Woman Next Door's advent calendar.

The finished tree. 

The finished tree. 

A mini tree that they're allowed to play with to keep them from playing with the real one! 

A mini tree that they're allowed to play with to keep them from playing with the real one!