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My perfectionism reared its ugly head this weekend. I’ve always put our Christmas tree up during Thanksgiving Break, but I’ve always done it when the kids were asleep. 🙂 It’s not that our tree is some show storefront show piece. It’s a mishmash of homemade ornaments, gifts from students, angels, tractors, ballerinas, guitars, cartoon characters, Santas, and snowmen. But in my head, each ornament has a specific place on the tree.

On Thursday, we brought the tree up from the basement, set it up, and made sure all the lights worked. First thing Friday morning, C started bugging me about the ornaments, so we carried those five boxes up from the basement.

Now, a wise friend once told me to buy small trees for my kids when they were little. That way they could decorate and un-decorate as much as they wanted. This has kept them from asking about the big tree until this year.  For some reason, C was determined to help.  As much as I wanted to say no, I just couldn’t.

So I took a deep breath, and then I laid out a few ground rules: be careful taking them out of the boxes; don’t put too many that are alike in the same area; don’t forget about the back of the tree; and the really heavy ones go on the bottom. He was amazing. He made sure the tractors were spread out evenly around the tree. He laughed at some of the cartoon characters he had forgotten about, and he had to look at all the ones he had made. Some of the more unusual ones, he asked where they came from or who gave them to us, and the ones he knew were fragile? He didn’t even touch those.

The tree doesn’t look quite the way it would if I’d done it by myself. There are some up high that I normally put toward the back and a few hanging a little low, but all in all, it looks pretty awesome.

I have to admit, it was the most fun I’ve had putting up the tree in a long time, and it was nice not having to stay up late to do it. More importantly, I was reminded that some things, like the conversation, smiles, and giggles of a seven year-old, take precedence over perfection.

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