letting go of Norman Rockwell


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.


  1. well you just stated the way it was, thank you!

  2. great post....and you are so right! we always strive for the perfect...and then when it doesnt happen...well...you know...lol. Thanks for a great post!

  3. AMEN! I certainly couldn't agree more! After nearly the whole family having the stomach flu and thinking I skipped it...I came down with it on Christmas Eve. The worse thing was not hearing my daughter sing "O Holy Night" for the Christmas Eve service... In spite of it all it was a glorious Christmas!

  4. And after all, isn't that what it is all about!!?? Being in the presence of our loved ones, who accept us, flaws and all.
    We had a lovely Christmas, complete with children fighting, a few things broken, hugs, laughter, joy...all of it. I hope you did too!
    : ) Kris

  5. so true. i've given up on perfect ...because it will never happen. just love it the way it happens & enjoy it that way. (:

  6. I agree, the Martha Stewart life is OVER!!! Of course if we had a staff of hundreds everything would be "amazing" LOL!!! This year my mantra was, if it get done fine, if it doesn't fine! LOL!!!

    Happy New Year!

  7. So very true. We often have expectations for the holidays like the movies. Perfect family and tree and food. I am always tired and worn out afterwards but glad I could do the job of hosting and making memories for the kids. They seem to have fun no matter what. Now you can rest my friend. Hope you have a few days off this week to rest. I am staying in my jammies all day.

  8. Yes.. we are all so blessed..imperfect moments and all :)

    Have a beautiful week!

  9. The holiday is never as I imagine it to be but as my kids started getting older we began changing our holidays a bit so that our family time included more of their interests and fewer of mine. I get my "perfect time" watching Hallmark every night during the holiday season.. . It helps.

  10. Thank you for keeping it "REAL" my friend. I think we shared the same Christmas Patty. It wasn't perfect but it was perfectly "Ours".

    Love & blessings,


  11. Patty: I wish you had "dropped in" sooner so I could have used a few of your decorating ideas!! As it is, I've spent a full cup of coffee with you this morning!

    You are so right about the "Normal Rockwell Christmas Style". Every year (around December 26), I start planning how to improve on the next year. In all honesty, some of it is very good and some is so, so. In the long run, it is all o.k.!! I love it!

    Our younger son and his wife are in the process of purchasing their first (and small home) in Providence, R.I.. I am so excited to introduce them to your blog and the clever other bloggers who have amazing smaller spaces.

    Enjoy the rest of the season!!


  12. That is so true!

    Thank you for your nice comment on my blog and for following me. I am your new follower, too!

  13. wonderful advice. Norman quit coming to my house years ago, but that's okay! We all had a great Christmas.

  14. Patty, wonderful thoughts. I'm not there yet...but trying.

    Wishing you a wonderful and happy new year!


  15. Actually, Norman Rockwell used models to carefully craft scenes that were photographed and then he used those photos to create his iconic paintings. So, even Rockwell had to use a highly manipulated setting to make everything pretty. Keep it real. That's what life is about. Leave perfection for the magazines.

  16. You are on the right track here; there is no perfection outside of heaven, that's for sure. I do love those Norman Rockwell paintings though.

  17. I've learned over the years (the hard way) to accept things as they are and quit stressing so much if they aren't perfect. This was the first Christmas that we all squeezed into our little farmhouse cottage, and 2 of my kids weren't even there! Nerves were getting frayed being SOOO close all week, and I laughed when I heard my 30 year old son and 23 year old daughter actually fussing over what to watch on TV and who gets to sit where! I am usually like you and have to clean up the Christmas mess right away and start editing what to keep and what to throw out. But this year, I decided to just let things be until everyone left and went back to their respective homes. Trying to make it easy on ME. I have not complained about the messes - not once.

    Well said! Good post!

  18. one or all these things happened here . . .
    and yes we are truely blessed!

  19. Very well said! So what if your Christmas holiday was less than perfect. There are many out there who have much less than we and would have loved to have a not so perfect Christmas. We have much to be thankful for with what God gives us, aren't we?
    Our Christmas was wonderful with much laughter, delicious food to fill our bellies, children playing and, more importantly, most of our family was here. I am truly thankful!


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