I have a theory...Norman Rockwell was just like us. His family had struggles, hard times, disagreements and even a personality issue or two. They did not always live up to that iconic picture perfect family that we have a tendency to work so hard to achieve each Christmas season and neither will mine. Whew...boy, do I feel better now.
The one thing that time has taught me is that the best laid plans never take into consideration the human factor. Someone is invariable going to be late (and yes, it's probably going to be the same person), someone will have one eggnog too many, someone will say, "You thought I'd like that? Where did you buy it from and did you save the receipt?", something will need more salt or less pepper, someone will act like they need nap (and it's not always a child) and someones feelings will be hurt.
Unless you have Christmas all by yourself, one or all these things happened to you, too. When I think of my favorite family times, those that bring an unexpected grin to my face, they usually aren't the "Norman Rockwell" moments, they are the moments that show our humanness. That laugh so hard that a coke filled snort snuck out or a child repeating grace like the teacher box from Charlie Brown.
If your Christmas was less than picture perfect, that's okay. If your hard work got thwarted by something unexpected, let it go.
If you were in the presence of someone you love, had food on the table, a warm place to visit and some laughter thrown in...
you are blessed
and so am I.
Next year as we plan our traditions I say we let go of Norman Rockwell and embrace what surrounds us, human flaws and all.