Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer
and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Happy Christmas Eve my friends.  This is a magical day of anticipation.  For many of us, Christmas preparations are based on tradition, and trying to recreate the memories of our childhood.  We have to make the cookies Mom made every year, the gifts have to be wrapped this way, the tree decorated just so.  And that’s just the traditions passed on within your family.  Turn on the television, and Martha Stewart is telling you how you can make you own packaging from burlap, twigs and berries, all while baking a Christmas cake that can be made in 48 simple steps.

We all put so much pressure on ourselves to make things perfect for this day. And let’s face it, things never quite live up to the expectations for the perfect holiday.  Or the perfect life for that matter.

I’m here to tell you that it’s time to start enjoying the outtakes, of Christmas and life in general.

To illustrate my point, let me share with you our family Christmas Card.

We’ve been so busy this Fall, but wanted to create a card to send to family and friends.  We have a pretty good camera, with a timer and tripod, so we decided to capture the moment ourselves, posing in front of the Christmas tree.  We made our plan, set the timer and quickly assembled in front of the tree.

3,2,1….Rudy, our Chocolate Lab, just left.

Next shot….3,2,1.  Brendan did not sit down and the shot cut off half of his head.

Let’s try again.  3,2,1.  I’m pointing at the camera, like it’s going to listen to me and give us more time.

One more time.  3,2,1….Brady is looking at us, not the camera, and I am not sure what he is saying to us, but it doesn’t look like Merry Christmas…

Okay, we can do this.  3,2,1… Brendan rushes back after setting the timer, tries to get into position.  From sources not wanting to be identified, we can report one or more persons may have, with the quick movement, passed some gas right into the face of another said family member….  That’s it, we’re done.  We all just lost it, laughing so hard.  And just as the camera counted 3,2,1…..Rudy walked across the frame, so instead of a beautiful regal dog, all you can see is a brown blob.

We looked at the pictures, and do you know what we decided?  What most people would call outtakes would in fact become our Christmas card this year.  More than any posed picture, these digital disasters captured the joy within the walls of our home.  They captured how much fun we have together, and most importantly, how we don’t take things in life too seriously.  We didn’t plan it that way, but it turns out we kind of like the outtakes of our simple little life.

These are the moments to remember.  Not the orchestrated moments of perfection. Because we all know life just is not perfect, and it is the balance of ups and downs that makes us appreciate those belly laughs.

Take some time this holiday season to enjoy the outtakes.  If things aren’t perfect, let it go.  Look for the perfection within the moments when things don’t go according to plan….that’s where you will find it. That’s where you will recognize the blessings in your life.

Merry Christmas,