I love the Christmas season but it can be very stressful. All the shopping, wrapping, cooking, parties, and decorating sometimes overwhelms me. It doesn't help that all the magazines and Hallmark shows depict the perfectly decorated house with the table set for a king, and food that looks like it was made by a master chef. All while the hostess looks flawless and well rested. It's easy to allow myself to think that's the way it's supposed to be and then feel disappointed when that's not reality...at least not for me. I have a loud and noisy family that can rattle the doors when they all get going. The paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery litter the counters, living room, and tables. Kids run eagerly from room to room burning off the sugar and excitement of gifts that are waiting to be unwrapped. And I wear myself thin trying to be a good hostess to my guests and family. Not exactly the Hallmark image. But as I step back and really take in the joy and sharing that is going on within each conversation I remind myself that this chaos is our perfect gathering. Nobody has to pretend to be someone they're not. This is home, a place to relax, reminisce, and celebrate our time together. There have been several years where my home was filled with sadness and tears. When the conversation was guarded and tense. I hated the holidays during that time of my life. So although my celebration doesn't look like how some may think it needs to look, it is filled with love, joy, and connection to all who dare to enter. I refuse to let someone else make me feel like it needs to be done a different way. I hope you celebrate every event in your own unique way that makes you and your family feel welcomed and relaxed.