Real vs. Fake

When I was a child, my family would mark the beginning of the holiday season by setting up a massive 12ft. fake Christmas tree. Set-up lasted all day and required at least 12 strings of lights, hundreds of ornaments, and lots of alcohol to help my parents get through the day. My dad would inevitably lose his temper at some point which would make my mom cry and my sister would just go hide in her room.

With its perfect shape and fullness, and the thousands of branches and little sprouts, all spaced out by hand, our gargantuan fake tree was always flawless. As I got older I started to push for the experience of a real tree. But my dad would blame his allergies (is that really a thing?) but ultimately, my mom was simply too OCD to put up with needles all over the place. It wasn’t until I started my own family that my dream of having a real tree finally came true.

The first couple of years we got our tree from a nursery, but in the past two years we’ve actually gotten a permit and trecked into the backcountry to cut down our own tree. While I absolutely LOVE our new tradition, its definitely taken some time to adjust to having an actual real tree.

Last year, following in my father’s footsteps, I had my own freak out because I thought the tree looked awful! *I am happy to report that my temper tantrums don’t physically harm anybody or involve much foul language (I usually just stomp off and cry in my room).*  I found myself having the same feelings this year.

This year, however, I had an ‘aha’ moment instead of losing my temper. I was hating this tree because of its lack of perfection and it was causing me frustration. But the reality is, the tree is perfect. It is my expectations, my own personal idea of what I think a perfect Christmas tree should look like, that is flawed.

So I wonder, where else in my life have I been imagining flaws? And how is this holding me, and others around me, back?

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