Saturday, December 24, 2011

On things being perfect for Christmas

For reasons too personal to divulge on the Internet, we do not celebrate Christmas. Until now.

The slippery slope started at Kindy, where my son made xmas decorations and wanted a tree for them to go on. And after a tree, the realisation of presents dawned, and before we knew it we had a stack under a tinsel (borrowed) tree and even some lights I picked up at an op shop.

And then the guilt and obligation began. For some reason I felt compelled to make my husband something (the most precious thing I can give him being my sewing time) and I bit off one way more than I had time to chew. My husband has everything he wants and needs - is not materialistic and wants nothing more than he already has, so I decided I'd make him a bag to carry his scrabble board and dictionary in for when he goes out for scrabble nights.

It was way more complicated than I imagined, and required much measuring and cutting. While my son was still at kindy it was manageable, but the whole thing turned into the biggest nightmare when kindy stopped and I dumped him in front of the TV hoping to grab some uninterrupted time to finish the job. While at the ironing board, I turned around to find him trying to prise open my overlocker with a knitting needle because he was trying to fish out the money from my purse that he had pushed down through the slots in the side of the machine. You could probably have heard the shouting from your place.

So far, so very not christmas.

That's when I gave up. 3 seams from the end, I was ready to bin it because I hated and resented it. The seams and finish are - to my eye - not something I can take pride in.

And that's when I remembered the Zen expression, "everything is perfect as it is."

The wonky zipper insertion, the pointy corners, the lumpy bias finish, all perfect as it is. While my husband took out our son for an hour, I finished it and wrapped it.

And then I made a perfect-as-it-is trifle with a gluten free sponge cake that stuck to the bottom of the pan and curdled custard.

Happy holiday season to everyone out there, may you enjoy all that you have, in its own perfection.


  1. What a wonderful gift! I love the fabric!

    He will dig it!

    And I love the Suzuki Roshi quote!

  2. Awww, welcome to commercialized Christmas and all its frustrations.
    The bag looks good from here!
    Thanks for all of the laughs all year long! Merry Christmas!!

  3. Yep , your husband will love it. ALl my husband ever wants for xmas are back rubs from anyone - even the dog ( but his back rubs come with slobby dog licks ) . I love trifle - its my favourite dessert . Your overlocker story reminds me of my eldest daughter `posting `pencils in the video recorder when she was little ! Have a happy holiday.

  4. The bag looks wonderful and obviously made with love (with a little frustration thrown in!) I like your acceptance of everything being perfect as it is .... sometimes acceptance is all we have left!

    I wish you a safe and happy Christmas and I hope you are not near Christchurch and if you are I hope that is the last of the tremors.

  5. Oh Christmas christmas christmas. Why do we do it to ourselves? Still, there is something lovely about the sheer excitement our two were barely holding in as they climbed into bed. Who knows if they will go to sleep before it gets dark, though I bloody well hope we have time to assumble the trampoline from Santa!

    You know, the bag is great & he'll love it cos you made it. And if he doesn't say precisely the right thing upon unwrapping it then perhaps he should clean the pots with the stuck sponge and curdled custard! Only kidding, I think!

  6. Great post, thank you for sharing. What a fabulous gift! Your sewing always looks so impeccable that I'm sure this is still fabulous. Wishing you a lovely day with your boy and Mr x

  7. I once had to explain to a sewing machine repair man that it was not me who had deposited 93 pins in the motor area of my machine. I am fortunate that my son still has the use of both eyes and his digestive system - kids are cunning,fast and have the self protective instincts of a flock of sheep.
    My sewing repair man obviously has no children. When I took the machine apart I saw he had left a post-it-note saying "dangerous 3 year old postman lives with this machine" attached to the inner case.
    Your scrabble portability set looks like a terrific present - personalised, practical and a gift of time. Perfect is a bad word.
    You should see the derelict gingerbread house we made this afternoon!

  8. Everything is perfect as it is. This is a great present. Glad to know you are all fine, NZ was in the news again for rumblings. Have a Merry Christmas :-)

  9. What a lovely sentiment. Thank you! Happy holiday season.

  10. Your post brought tears to my eyes

  11. And it indeed is perfect as it is. I love this! Thank you for the gift of this quote. Merry Christmas!

  12. I hope you manage to have a relaxing Christmas day (while keeping one eye on the boy!) The scrabble holder is a brilliant gift and I am sure your husband will appreciate it.

    My boys weren't too bad growing up. The incident that made me stop sewing when the oldest was a toddler was when the OL kept sewing after I had lifted my foot of the pedal. My son was underneath the table pushing the pedal on!

  13. It's hard to come up with something from scratch, but you did an amazing job. I am sure your husband will love it. It's a very cool and useful gift. May the Christmas memories you create with your family be always bring a smile to your face. I'll never forget the contorted looks on my family's face when they all took their first bite of the pumpkin pie I made....with no sugar (i forgot to add it). Priceless! and we still laugh about it today at every Thanksgiving.

  14. Hey the Christmas presents were perfect at this end thanks. All the better for being a total surprise and given that the secret santa process is a bit wobbly and usually falls short for at least one person (out of six, not bad) it's great to be the lucky ones that get the gift on the day.Hooray.

  15. What a lovely, personalized gift for your DH. You really gave it a lot of thought and planning. Your story about your son reminded me that long ago one of my sons pushed a large screw driver through one of the holes of the aluminum wheel rims on my car. (Imitating his dad who was doing some work on the engine). Later, when my car did not move forward as I pressed the gas pedal, I investigated and found the obstruction. I just told the story to that son, who did not remember doing it, and we had a good laugh.
    Happy Holidays!

  16. I'm impressed! ...the bag looks great, and I'm sure it'll be very much appreciated. I love the Zen outlook on things, too. I think I could do with a bit of that in my life ;-)
    Hope you guys are well and enjoying a well-deserved break.


  17. I too have been guilted into Christmas. It makes me very angry- the implication that I'm deprivng my daughter. The constant "bullying" to conform. People don't ask why, they just shove St Nick up your butt.

    I need an enema... ;)

    You're right. Everything is perfect as it is.

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