Actually, there is no such thing. Our carefully planned night of making cookies with the kids might have a major spill or a missing ingredient, our dinner might get totally out of sync, the money is short, the kids are not being perfect, and the list goes on and on and on.
One year my husband was working long hours, the children were 5 and under, we had no money, everyone around me seemed to be gloomy and I was catching the mood. However, I had little ones and I wanted them to have a wonderful Christmas in spite of things being not-so-perfect!
So that year I did a lot of late night sewing--little aprons that held their art supplies, (and I remember my machine giving me fits!), we did a lot of cookie baking and decorating, their Christmas dollies had homemade diaper bags with homemade diapers and although they only received one store bought gift they were incredibly happy!
That year I tried to put the tree up alone and it fell on me! I remember the kids standing on the couch watching the whole thing and screaming when it fell! They thought I was dead! (Well, you know, a tree fell on me!)
That is the year we began our birthday party for Jesus with chocolate cake and hot Tang. That is the year we would sit by the Christmas tree with all the lights off and I would tell them stories.
They still talk about those times, so I don't think my not-so-perfect Christmas was that to my children. It was a choice I had to make, rather to let it be ruined by everything not being post card perfect or to make the most of what we had at the time.
When I think of that first Christmas night I realize that nothing was going right for Mary and Joseph right then. They had to go to a strange town when it was her time to be delivered. When they got there they couldn't find a room. When they finally got settled in a barn they had no place to lay the baby and she had to wrap him in swaddling clothes! They were surrounded by Roman soldiers, a wicked king, and on the whole people who had no mercy on them and their situation. But in the midst of it all--a miracle was taking place!
When things aren't just like we imagine they ought to be we always have a choice--and the best choice is to look for the joy and the miracle of Christ in the midst of it.
Look for the opportunity to turn something that appears to be a problem into a blessing!
Electricity goes off? Pretend you're living during the Little House on the Prairie days and light the candles and oil lamps, build a fire in the fireplace (we have one right now) and teach them to cook over a fire! (Nothing like a good burnt grilled cheese sandwich!)
Sick child? Turn your couch into a hospital bed. Put a chair with a tea towel covered tray beside the couch and wait on them hand and foot. Teach them to slurp chicken noodle soup. Give them a bell to ring and you'll come running. Put a stack of books beside them and read one to them each hour. Pretend you're their private nurse. (You can even make yourself a paper nurse's hat.)
No money? Revamp toys. One year every gift Asher got was from Goodwill. He had no idea!
Most of all take your problem to the Problem Solver--so many, many times He has had a miracle at my door when my prayer was barely prayed. If nothing else He can give us the right attitude and perspective on the whole thing.
Will this year be the perfect Christmas? Not for me...I am not going to have a single grandchild at my Christmas dinner table, our family is still hanging in limbo as far as where the Lord wants us next, my husband is working those hours again where there is little time for us as a family unit--but we're having a wonderful, wonderful Christmas this year! The mood is festive, the house is decorated, the kids and I are having a wonderful time with home projects (John and I got the remodeling done on Mary and Joseph's home last night) and I'm discovering resources I had forgotten I owned! Thank You Lord that thanks to You every year is the perfect Christmas!