Monday, December 8, 2014

Real Life is Not a Hallmark Card

One of the biggest criticisms about home-and-family blogs is that they often give the idea that the writer's home is always perfect, and that their family is always joyful and adorable as they sit in their nicely decorated house making delicious treats from scratch and posing for pinterest-worthy photos. I'm here today to toss a little bit of reality into that ridiculous notion.

Over the past week, we've been starting to decorate our home, in preparation for our big Solstice Feast day on the 21st, and for Christmas Eve and Christmas after that. All this festive decorating was to be completed on "Tree Day" this past Sunday, which, of course, was to be a warm, fuzzy, delightful Hallmark holiday experience for us all. We were to laugh, to frolic amongst evergreens with rosy cheeks, then come home to decorate our tree with festive hand-made Yule decorations and have cookies and cocoa and hug each other warmly. A little bit of that actually ~did~ happen. But there was also screaming and yelling between two of the children, a broken tree stand which resulted in two quarts of water all over the livingroom floor, an emergency run out to get a new tree stand, and four out of five of us in tears at least once throughout the day. In the midst of all that, there was The Phone Call which took the wind out of my Holiday Spirit sails. As I've mentioned here before, Solstice is THE winter holiday, for me. I could give or take Christmas, for the most part, but the celebration of Solstice speaks to me. I love making ice lanterns, filling our home with candles, roasting chestnuts on the fire pit and having a big feast to welcome the returning light. It's something I look forward to and plan for months, every year. Well this year, it turns out that The Man of the House, the Love of my life, will NOT BE HOME FOR SOLSTICE. His brother got him tickets to a football game two states away, which would normally be a wonderful thing, except that the game is on Solstice! This makes me very sad. I'm trying to muddle through, but GAH... it's hard. Although I'll still have my sister and her fiance and my kiddos here to celebrate, there will be a large hole in the festivities, without him here. I'm one sad Mama.

We did manage to somewhat salvage the day. We cleaned up the huge water mess, we pulled it together, and we got the tree decorated. We even had cookies and cocoa. But by then, we were all just emotionally spent, and couldn't wait for the day to be over. Such is real life, sometimes, no?

But anyway... here are the pictures of that day. But just the good stuff, so that just for a few minutes we can ~pretend~ to be that perfect family ;)

Next post... I'll share some ideas for all-natural (and mostly FREE) holiday decorating.


  1. Jenney,
    If you truly wished to demonstrate to your readers that "real life is not a Hallmark card" and that "even seemingly perfect families are not", wouldn't it have made sense to NOT DELETE the dialogue that you and I had in this comments section? Are WE not family...? Am I not the brother you refer to in this blog entry?


    On 9 dec at 6:38 AM, I wrote:

    Since you have come into my brother's life, I have consistently endeavored to treat you with the unconditional love and respect a family member deserves. I am deeply disappointed with this post.

    If you are willing to heap guilt upon "the love of your life" so openly on the internet, I can only imagine how much grief that "love" must be receiving in the privacy of your home.


    On 9 Dec at 7:54 AM, you responded:

    This is not about Guilt, this is about how even seemingly "perfect" families are not... even those of us with Blogs full of "perfection" have lives that are not like a holiday card. It was meant to let my readers feel like we are all in this imperfect life together, and the pictures you see on Pinterest are a carefully selected few.

    He has not received one bit of "grief" from me about this at home, as no one did anything wrong.It was just a matter of poor timing, which happens. That is life (also the point of this post... life sometimes is not perfectly timed}.

    I also wrote about my kids screaming and yelling at each other, and kids crying and huge messes. Because that is real life. Here in the privacy of our home, we are both constantly demonstrating our love to each other in large and small ways.

    I am dedicated to my family's care and happiness, his included. I do my best on that front, always. And always will. I'm sorry you took this personally.


    These comments certainly reinforce your points. If you again choose to delete these comments, maybe you will consider deleting the original blog entry as well.

  2. I deleted the comments because I avoid using real names (except my own) I was attempting to protect privacy.

    Additionally... I asked "The Man" if I should remove the post, and he told me not to. So I didn't.

  3. And by the way, since we're still talking about this... I am, in no way, ashamed of this post, or these comments. This has been my fifth most popular post ever, with lots of women reaching out to thank me for letting them know that it meant a lot to see that we all struggle with inconvenient things sometimes. I did not write of anything deeply personal. I wrote of our chaotic tree day, and expressed my disappointment that he will not be home for something that is a very important celebration in our family. I am allowed to be disappointed, and I am allowed to express that in a healthy way, which I feel I did. I did not hurl insults, I did not do anything to try to stop him from going. He even asked me, "Did you want me to say I couldn't go?" and I said, "No." Things are just fine between The Man and I, and will continue to be. If he's OK with all this, why can't you be?