Joy to the Messiness of Christmas

christmas morning!

christmas morning! (Photo credit: Nikki McLeod)

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.
Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ~ Andy Rooney

 Christmas is meant to be messy—it is a combination of all those things that make it slightly chaotic, happily disordered, and a bit muddled. There are those who may succeed in putting order in the holiday season—with napkins folded in reindeer shapes, festive name plates creatively crowning every plate, and a gourmet dinner cooked flawlessly for shining happy faces around the dining room table. Impeccable manners are displayed and the conversation is articulate, with no hint of religion, politics, or money.

          Beautifully wrapped gifts are opened carefully, the paper whisked away before it hits the floor, and expressions of gratitude greet every well-chosen present. Tasteful Christmas sweaters are worn with flare, and well-mannered children sit quietly awaiting their turn to open the bounty provided by Santa.

          …………………..Okay, now for a little reality. What I have described above may have happened on the Christmas shows carefully orchestrated in days of yore, (think Bing Crosby Christmas specials) and Martha Stewart may still bring some order to the holidays (though we really don’t know—Christmas Day may be one of havoc, turmoil and mayhem at her house too) but as for me and mine—we start out carefully unwrapping our gifts, but it soon becomes a frenzy of paper torn off with abandon, and bows tossed aside to reveal the prize of the day. Later we are left scrambling to find instructions and batteries among the tissue paper and flotsam and jetsam of Christmas unwrapped.

          I strive to produce a gourmet meal (having watched one too many shows on the Food Network), but we are all satisfied with what is eventually the outcome of my labours—some years it is overcooked prime rib, others a butchered turkey (this year I am going to use an electric knife bestowed on me by a friend—so hopefully it will not look like I wrestled with the meat). Generally the meal tastes pretty good and it is always saved by dessert. Those who gather around my table are generally well-mannered, but voices do get raised in passion, and perhaps a wine glass gets knocked over (usually by me as I am a klutz). But I contend that it is the “mess” of Christmas that makes it festive; it is the confusion and jumble and tangle of the whole event that is what makes memories.

          Christmas is not meant to be perfect—after all it is celebrated by people, and who do you know that is perfect? I love the noise of happy kids—their exuberance and joy at a holiday they can barely believe is happening makes one rethink what is important. I always have the sugarplum of a perfect Christmas dancing in my head, stress out to make sure that everything is impeccable–then I come to the realization that the Christmas we celebrate this year will be just right—despite arguments, unwanted presents, and overcooked meat. Life has its peccadilloes and so does Christmas.


June and Ward Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley and...

June and Ward Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thinking that Christmas will not suffer from some turmoil is unrealistic—remember even June and Ward Cleaver had to put up with Beaver’s antics and Eddie’s caustic charm. Christmas does not solve the world’s problems per se, but for a few moments it can put them on hold and we can bask in the glow of our Christmas trees, the warmth of our families, and enjoy all the special foods and drinks and presents that help make the season merry.

          My fervent wish for all of you is that you can take some time out this Christmas to enjoy what the season has to offer. I leave you with these wise words from W.J. Tucker (my addition is in brackets):

          “For centuries men (and women) have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.” ~ from Pulpit Preaching

          Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ~ may you find joy in this holiday season!

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love and agree with everything you wrote here. The Andy Rooney quote is perfect: Christmas is messy, but enjoy it for a moment.
    I just spent all morning wrapping presents. It put me in the Christmas spirit — FINALLY! 🙂

  2. Wishing you the most joyous holidays – enjoy every moment!

  3. Christmasses as I remember them… nostalgia


  4. It wouldn’t be the same without a crazy and noisy Christmas morning with laughter and everyone talking at once and paper flying everywhere, but I must say I do try and grab up the paper in between gifts and keep some sense of order because of what happened one year in our family. In the midst of all the mayhem, a pair of earrings that one of my nieces had received were lost and were never found. They must have gone out with the garbage, and she was very upset, as was the gift giver :(.

  5. Christmas without kids and mess, just doesn’t feel right. For this reason we’ve done our 3 day drive up to NJ, to enjoy the chaos, mess and cold that we know awaits us. Almost there. 🙂

  6. Definitely Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the messiness and confusion and several talking at once… After all we have the month of January to recuperate don’t we..?? Diane

  7. Lovely lovely post, Lou Ann and a happy happy Christmas

  8. We are lucky too in the mess created on Christmas morning! Chaos and fun indeed. We have only four on Christmas Day but by 27th we are 12 and will have another messy sharing Christmas morning.
    I send you and yours love for a happy and properly messy Christmas x x

  9. Wonderful post LouAnn. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  10. You’ve captured the reality of Christmas Day. Started with Andy Rooney is one thing, but there’s elements of him throughout this post … well done … and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    BTW … there is a holiday party going on … and is noticed something with your name on it!

  11. All is so very true, wrapping paper is everywhere, and bows stuck to dogs in my house. Weeks later, I am sure to find another bow stuck under the couch. Thankfully I have a Dyson.

    • I am still looking at the mess–time to clean up–after all it is two days after Christmas

  12. To make peace with messiness and chaos is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. What a lovely blog post.

    • today I am trying to clean up some of the preChristmas chaos to make room for some new chaos–I found my kitchen–now I am endeavouring to find the dining room

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