When You Have Big Plans

When You Have Big Plans

Buy groceries.
Wait, no. Make grocery list first.
Oh, um, no. First figure out menu.
And pull up recipes from Pinterest.
Then make grocery list. And buy groceries.
Don’t forget foil pans.
Wait for Mark to fix dishwasher.
Pray that Mark can fix dishwasher.
Write T-Day schedule.
Plan to finish early enough to store dirty pans in oven.

And that’s just one to-do list for this coming week. I’ve also got regular house STUFF, a checkbook that needs to be balanced (um, last week), lots of laundry to do, a few extra guest posts that are due…or overdue, and {did I mention?} an enormous, terrifying, has-major-life-changing-potential project to finish. This week.

Have you ever felt like your to-do list has morphed into a get-it-done-or-else list?

Is this the year you’re hoping it will all finally go right? Are you counting on extra hours in the day without a hint of red lights or burned biscuits or cranky kids? Are you sure this year will be different…and better? Do you NEED it to be different…and better?

What do you think will make that happen? Food Network casseroles and HGTV decor? Kids wearing matching sweaters and baring almost-normal grins in front of the fireplace? Maybe a craft table for the little ones and gratitude mad libs for the adults? An eloquent prayer before dinner, spectacular centerpieces, Pinterest-perfect pies?

Oh, I know, I know. You don’t REALLY think that. Me either. At least not out loud.

Just like I don’t REALLY base my holiday happiness on what others do and say and wear and eat. I certainly don’t base my mood and personal satisfaction on how well I perform – or how well others see me (or don’t). Nope. Not me.


Maybe this could be the year that the holidays ARE different. Because maybe this could be the year we give ourselves a break. The year we give our family and our friends, our pets and our kids, our shopping lists and our pie crusts a break.

Perhaps we could truly give up on the idea – the FAIRY TALE – of the perfect, calm, festive, nothing-goes-wrong and everyone-gets-along holidays.

Maybe this year could be the one we actually have a little fun and smile for real and mean it when we rattle off a list of what we’re thankful for.

What do you say? Can we do that? Can our Big Holiday Plans focus on accepting and even embracing our real lives? The ones with stained tablecloths and late lunches and dry turkey and rowdy kids and arguing uncles?

I think we can.

Let’s do this. Let’s plan on a different kind of holiday season this year. One where we look around with fully open eyes and equally open hearts, where we say, “Yes. THIS is my life. THIS is my family, my home, my Thanksgiving. It might not make the front of Martha Stewart’s magazine or inspire Norman Rockwell-ish paintings, but THIS is my real life…and I LOVE IT.”

How will YOU give up on a perfect Thanksgiving this week?

4 Comments When You Have Big Plans

  1. Susan Stitch November 26, 2013 at 7:37 am

    This year I am using PAPER PLATES! Yes, this is a sacrilege in our family — it’s always ‘clean the china and shine the silver’ at Thanksgiving. Then wash the dirty china by hand, be careful nothing breaks, and repack it all away until the next holiday. Not this year — I saw cute holiday paper plates next to the check out at Sams and they just jumped in the cart. If our guests don’t like it, then someone else can host next year!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect November 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Good for you!! Enjoy your Thanksgiving today, Susan! (Way easier to do when you’re not stuck in the kitchen doing dishes, right?!?) :)

  2. Lina November 26, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you!! This year we seem to be down to only four of us…. I have never had less than ten at the table on Thanksgiving. It will be strange given we have five at the dinner table each night. But, I have already decided that I am printing the below in large print and pinning it to my fridge ahead of time:
    “But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about'” (vs. 41).
    That should keep my perspective in the right place.

    Happy REAL Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect November 28, 2013 at 10:21 am

      Hoping your Thanksgiving dinner is surprisingly wonderful, Lina – and I love your perspective for the day! There IS only one thing to be concerned about, thank God! :)

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