Tuesday, December 01, 2015

December 1st 2015 - Anticipation

Finding a perfect (the mere word is terrifying) balance between sensible expectations and enjoying the anticipation of Christmas or Holidays at its best is a slippery road. While I get lots of my joy out of making various things before the celebrations, I need to be careful not to build my expectations so high that I cannot meet them. There has to be a happy medium between " what is Christmas anyway; it is just one day in a row of days?" and "a celebration with joyous, humorous, high-spirited, healthy (no stuffy noses and high temperatures this time - thank you) family gathering around bountiful table dressed with crisp white linen and glowing, thick Evergreen bursting with handmade, antique decorations, giving and receiving tasteful, artful, meaningful tokens of love and gratitude... and it goes without saying that all these festivities happen in a thoroughly cleaned house (you should be able to check your lipstick by glancing at the kitchen sink and eat from your closets floors.)"

Okey, who am I kidding? I want it all, it is 24 days until Christmas, plenty of time to for the latter.  
I love doing things. I love the magic of this season, the elves, the food, the deserts, the drinks, the gifts, candles, carols, fires, snow, starry cold nights, ...

So I clean... and find out that no matter how much I clean today, and if I clean 15 hours straight for a fortnight , there is no way my whole house is going to glow by Christmas. It is never going to glow, but I will thrive for it.

If I clean thoroughly, it is going to be a challenge to find the time to make food and bake and get gifts but I can do it... I would love to prepare every single food item from the scratch, but for that I should have started last year. Let's face it, if I spend 12 hours in the kitchen, two days in a row, some stuff will turn out beautifully while others will not and something is destined to burn or not rise or turn sour in the myriad ways it is possible for food to turn sour. If I close my eyes and look deeper into my memory, I can see me sneaking in the dark of the night to the compost heap with watery eyes and ruined dinner. Of course I will ignore this, it is never going to happen again because this time I will be very cautious, I will pay attention,  I will measure, weight, set the timer, it will be like clockwork; there will be no room for human error, it will work out.
I know my family does not have the same expectations, because they don't live inside my head and they have lived through the many holiday seasons with me and none of them have been perfect, let's just say so far. Not a single one. No matter how hard I have tried, my cooking has not been all that great (I won't even mention about the turkey I managed to ruin totally), my deserts might sometimes have turned out good tasting if not all that good looking, I have managed to nail the present thing on a few rare occasions, but the family has always (I might be exaggerating a little bit here, but this is the season for it) been good about everything. It is because they have not had a clue (I might have told them, I don't remember, blame the cinnamon and cardamom fumes) how perfect I would have loved everything to be. Oh, but they will be gobsmacked this year when they arrive, because finally, they are going to have the best Christmas ever. I cannot help myself. I will try one more time. (And then next year once more, if it does not work out this time.)

It really helped me to write all this down. Now that it is all out in the open, and now that you all know what my expectations are, we are good...

I can hear you and ok, I will settle for less, but only for a little less. You should not try to talk me out of this...

Ok ... I promise, I will cut corners here and there, but I will do it tastefully and gracefully. My corners will be cut perfectly - in the spirit of the season; my shortcuts will be done thoughtfully and with good taste.
I had good intentions of making a festive new banner with merry elves singing carols. The elves are singing carols alright, but what I really don't understand is why do they look so serious. After the picture was completed, I took a long look at it, expecting it to be something totally different, and the reality hit me, as it always does. I realized that they look different than my intentions... We could always say that they are perfect in their serious way. 

And we can all have a perfect holiday season, it can be perfect in so many different ways, it just depends on your point of view, you can decide yourself what is your perfect.

Check the first thing off the list: a new banner. (Perfect.)

Wool with you,


  1. Dear Lene,

    That is the perfect start to the holiday season! May all your intentions shine through!

    I love the dark, the cold, and the mystery of the holiday season as well, but I don't write as well as you do -- thank you!


  2. Here in southwest Washington state my expectations are a bit lower. Still, I do love fantasy and hopefulness at Christmastime. Your new banner is definitely perfect.

  3. Love the banner...but perhaps the elves, too, are worrying that their carol may not be the best, their voices might be a little raspy, they maybe should have worn different shoes...

    We all worry. Here's to a worry-free holiday season!

  4. My house is completely torn up due to a renovation project that is, of course, taking longer than I'd thought/hoped. I have been horribly depressed about not being able to do "my Christmas" the way I want. Yes, the "perfect" thoughts living in my head...

  5. You've expressed this so well. I shouldn't look at holiday-themed magazines--everything looks so perfect in them! So we do what we can to add more festivity than last year, wherever we are. Peace (and wool) be with you!

  6. I think we all suffer from wanting Christmas to be as perfect as we see it in our mind. For years I too struggled with it but now realize I can't control all the factors or people involved and try to do my best and then enjoy the season.

    I hope your dog Tina is feeling better. She's such a beauty.

  7. I love the idea of settling for [slighlty] less than perfect "tastefully and gracefully"!

  8. Fabulously imperfect. Perfection is overrated, but grace is not. Your elves are happy and festive!

  9. Your elves are chanting "holy, holy, holy," or a merry Finnish carol, regardless of whether they are celebrating Yule or Christmas! That's why their mouths are in such perfect little o's.

    I am struggling to clean this month, too. It won't be completely done, much less glowing, but it will be better. I will probably be cooking a vegetarian Dec. 24th dinner for my niece and her husband, since my sister is somewhat helpless with meat-free cookery. Good luck to you. Mirrors are for checking your lipstick, and plates and bowls for eating!

  10. Anonymous20:47

    Your intentions are mine, as well! Your elves have perturbed eyebrows; and if you stitch in a little upward curve on each side of the O mouth, they'll be smilier!

  11. This all sounds very familiar to me! :-)

  12. Beth in Maryland20:01

    This is simply the way elves look when they sing, you have captured it exactly. It's a big responsibility to be supplying the Christmas music, and they want it to be.... perfect.

  13. Lene, your banner is beautiful! Please don't worry that they don't look merry. NOBODY can look merry while singing "oooooooh"! LOL

  14. Anonymous02:27

    Ah yes... I know this desire for the perfect Christmas season, but as you say, we need to decide what that 'perfect' is. I have adjusted my definition each year, but always find myself not quite reaching it. I need to start looking just at the 'rights' and not at the 'wrongs' and enjoy the time.

    Your elves are delightful! I love seeing your artwork; it makes me want to sit down and try my own hand at it, though I know I don't have your eye or talent. Perhaps though, I can develop my own style and learn to see the 'right' and not the 'wrong' in it, and be happy.

  15. Amber18:54

    A new post every day in December - I am so looking forward to reading them all. I love your kitchen elf. I think she magically came to our kitchen last night, sniffing our spices and giving advice, because this morning my husband had made spiced biscuits that turned out beautifully.