Amy Carroll » Living Joyfully » The Joy of an Imperfect Christmas

The Joy of an Imperfect Christmas

As my wise eldest son Anson says, “Perfect is a clingy thing.” Oh mercy. Yes she is.

Perfection always starts hanging around in my head and heart again around Christmas. How do I know she’s made an entrance this year? Because I feel like I want to bite the head off a snake today. (I’m trying not to imagine myself biting the head off of any of my loved ones, but they might be in danger. Just keepin’ it real.)

I’m testy because I’m behind. See this empty corner in my office?


That’s the new spot for the Christmas tree this year. The tree skirt on the floor might replace my 20-year-old one… or it might go back to Homegoods. Sigh.

I’ve seen all your pictures on Facebook. I know you’re all decorated, and you’ve probably finished shopping too. I love you. Truly I do. But today, because of Perfect’s meddling ways, I’m tempted to hate you.

I need to do something drastic to break up with Perfect all over again, so let’s start a movement. I’m going to focus on relationships instead of trying to create my own perfection, and I’m going to document it so that I’ll pay attention.

I’d love for you to join me! Here’s how…

Every time you choose relationship with God and others over perfection, let’s leave a picture on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with #BreakingUpWithPerfect. Let’s encourage each other to keep our hearts focused on Jesus and serving others with great love and joy this Christmas! Who’s with me? I’ll be watching the hashtags and commenting!

(On Monday’s blog post I’ll roll out the goodies involved. Yes, a movement must have goodies. 🙂 )

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  1. Faith Richter Dick says:

    I AM LOVED!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this story and message. I need to hear this.

  2. I know I am loved and I want my granddaughter to know she is loved as well.

  3. I would be happy if my office was that NEAT — let alone decorated!! Maybe in January!

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Carol Love says:

    Breaking up with perfect is not an option for me! I live in a Motor Home and have no choice about decorating. I remember doing it all up, though, and the year I did nothing. Neither were satisfactory. Neither were perfect! So. I plan to get a poinsettia and we are talking about a tree outside – maybe a live one that can be planted on the campground somewhere afterward. But this year it is a we thing for the first time. In past years it has been a me thing. (We have had 44 of those years, by the way.) That too is progress! Love this season with all the decorations and the music. Love my Jesus as well. Be blessed as you grow in Him. He can do all things – when we let Him. But we so often do not let Him!!!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Together sounds perfect! I love that you came up with a way to share the beauty of your poinsettia with your community too.

  5. Now IF I had a smart phone I would post the picture of the half finished Christmas tree on the piano bench and the one I am working on for my mother in law, that I want to make PERFECT on the table where my tree goes….yep…I know that perfect monster all too well! And I don’t do instagram or twitter, so you will just have to use your imagination!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I have it all painted up in my brain, Mary. Those trees are gorgeous!! 🙂

  6. I am right there with you, Amy!

    My sister-in-law got all of her Christmas shopping done last weekend and was wrapping gifts while her daughters put ornaments on the bottom half of the tree (all they can reach at 5 and 7 years old). I was tempted to be jealous, but told her she is my hero, instead.

    I got out the bins and boxes that hold our tree and decorations. And hubby and I made a date night out of shopping and dinner out the other night. Still lots to do. As usual.

    I don’t do Facebook, Instragram, or Twitter, but I will join the movement to #BreakUpWithPerfect this Christmas! Jesus wants relationship, not for me to straighten up and get my tree decorated before I can worship Him “properly.”

    Thanks for the reminder! Keep them coming.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Thanks for joining us, Jenn! I love that you celebrated your sis-in-law instead of resenting her.

  7. renee schuitemaker says:

    Hello Amy, I live in Holland and here we are not even thinking about christmas yet, we first have something called “sinterklaas”its a bit like santa claus but it is especially for the children. When he is gone again then we start thinking about christmas. He leaves on the 6th of december, we celebrate his “birthday” on the 5th of december

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      What a lovely tradition! Renee, I LOVE travel and the nations, so could I ask you a huge favor? Would you post pictures on the social network you use and use the #breakingupwithperfect? I would be over the moon to have women in other countries showing up what Christmas looking like where you are. I have another friend who is moving to Africa, so I’m going to ask her the same request. I’ll be watching for your pics with great excitement!

  8. LOVE it!!! And love you for being so authentic and willing to share your honest thoughts and feelings. Our tree is up (only because years ago I started a tradition with my youngest son of decorating it the weekend after Thanksgiving to distract him from his Daddy and older brother going off to the hunting camp while he had to stay home; now at almost 13 he did the whole tree himself –he let me put on a couple of ornaments). But the tree is surrounded by all the fall decor that is still in place because I haven’t had time to take it down and put up the Christmas stuff.

    I’d much rather be a step or two behind and happy and right in my relationship with Christ and the important people in my life than Pinterest-Perfect and an irritable, crabby, mess!

    Love your idea of a #BreakingUpWithPerfect Christmas movement! Count me in!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      So excited to see what pics you post with #breakingupwithperfect! Hugs to you!

  9. That’s a fantastic idea!

    My Thanksgiving dinner was far from perfect (We live in a small place: no room for centerpieces on the table, forks that didn’t match! – No one noticed/cared but me – of course me!) but everyone left satisfied with love and a very full belly. I’m also behind on my Christmas decorating, but I do have a beautiful pointsetta sitting on my kitchen table that my son surprised me with on Thanksgiving night!

    I’m know it’s been said before, and I love getting ideas from the experts, but it helps if we’d stop mulling over all the perfect images of what our “holidays must look if we want a truly memorable one”.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Ooooo! I love that quote. I’ll be watching for your pics with the #breakingupwithperfect. Looking forward to seeing what you post!

  10. Sister, I am all in. On November 23rd I thought I had my priorities straight and by November 30th I was disappointed in my loved one’s reactions to my attempts at making the holidays perfect–can’t they see I’m doing this all for them! (Please note sarcasm.) If I really look inside my soul, I’m doing it so they (whoever “they” are) will think more of me. That is NOT what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. IF my decorations, baking, service and gifts are not an expression of my love for Jesus then they are of no value to anyone. Less perfect is my new holiday mantra. Thank you, Amy, for your transparency!

    1. “IF my decorations, baking, service and gifts are not an expression of my love for Jesus then they are of no value to anyone.” So well said, Rhonda!

    2. Amy Carroll says:

      LOL! Yes, I always thought I was doing it for others too. I can relate! You have such a great insight. I’ll be watching for your pics with #breakingupwithperfect. Can’t wait to see!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Oh, yay! I’ll be watching for your pic with #breakingupwithperfect!

  11. Christina garner says:

    I am soo going to do this…this “season” has already started off horribly not perfect! Lol….I have been sicker than a dog…my kids kids “tried” to help me decorate but of course it doesn’t “look the way I want it” and my Bible study group has been so gracious as to provide meals to us with me being sick but that has meant that they’ve come over with my house a mess!!! And I have been so embarrassed!! Rebooting today!! Jesus is truly the reason for the season!! He is my Hope and my savior and I am going to celebrate HIM not the ” stuff” that needs to be accomplished!!!!! Thank u for this wonderful reminder!!!!!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Oh, goodie! So glad you’re in this with me. I’ll be watching for your pics with #breakingupwithperfect!

  12. Praise the Lord….I am in very good company with you Caroll…..I have been driving neighbors for various things because they have no vehicle… two younger women to share the Lord with this holiday season…as a result I am currently surrounded with laundry and dishes……….thank you Lord for these opportunities….things will get done on time…… day at a time……lots of days before Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ahead…….I can smell those goodies baking in the oven and see those beautiful lights on that tree… and God bless, Debbie

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I love your serving heart, Debbie!