Christmas Card Mistakes

Tis’ the season and Christmas cards are quickly rolling in.  Even though they are almost becoming a thing of the past, I still enjoy getting my annual Christmas cards in the mail.  It is great to see how families grow from year to year.  I love reading the Christmas letters that some families put out as well.  It’s just a time of the year to celebrate the great things that happened over the past 365 days.

What I’ve learned, however, over the past 18 years of having a family of my own and since I’ve been actively involved in the Christmas card process myself, is that what you see portrayed on these beautifully crafted Christmas cards aren’t always the realities of life.

Many of us hide our faults and yearly upsets behind the smiling faces, beautiful backdrops and posed positions in order to portray to the world that our lives are perfectly perfect.  Please don’t let these picture perfect cards fool you.  Every family has its ups and downs.  Every family is working through difficulties.  Everyone has their struggles whether they want to admit it or not.

Privacy is wonderful and I respect that fact that people want their privacy.  Privacy, however, sometimes is just the ego hard at work.  It is a way of people hiding the fact that they are human.  We all make mistakes.  We all have our ups and downs.  We all make stupid choices that we regret and wish we could take back.  We should be celebrating that we are learning from these mistakes and not let our ego hide them.  The only reason we hide them is because our egos don’t want other people judging us.  What are people going to think?  Who cares?  Do you think their lives are really any different than yours?  No.  Nobody has the picture perfect Christmas card.  Nobody!

I always stress to my children and the students that I teach that I love when they make mistakes, because mistakes are meant to teach us.  The same is true with life.  We have to make mistakes and grow from them as a human.  As Oprah says, “There is no such thing as failure.  Failure is just life trying to move us in another directions.”  This coming from a huge TV success story who was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore.

I think mistakes should be celebrated.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see a Christmas card that talked about all the mistakes they made, and what they’ve learned from them?  Wouldn’t you be shocked to open up someone’s Christmas card to read, “I had an affair on my spouse, but it took me being with someone else to realize just how important my family really is to me.”  Or how about, “We had a very tough financial year and we made some really bad business decisions, but I am looking forward to never making those mistakes again and keep plugging away and finding new business opportunities.”   What if you read, “I had a very tough year emotionally and I’ve been depressed for the last three months, but I had to experience this darkness to realize just how much light there was inside of me that I’ve been hiding on myself for years.”

The old sayings goes, “You never know what goes on behind closed doors” or “You have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”  These two sayings are very true and we all know they are true, but we all judge people when you hear what people are going through.  “Geeze, I’d never put up with that if my spouse did that to me.”  “Man, oh, man some people are greedy when it comes to making a dollar.”  “It seems now-a-days everyone is depressed.”  You’ve all said it or thought it when you hear gossip about what difficulties people are faced with.

It’s time that we stop judging and realize we all experience the same kind of life problems.  Stop hiding behind your perfect family picture that you are sending in the mail this year, and celebrate your mistakes!  As long as you are growing as a soul and making adjustments so that you never make the same mistake again.  If you do, than learn better next time.

Nobody has the perfect life.  That is why we are on this earth.  To learn.  Celebrate your mistakes and learn from them.  I really like the famous quote by Michael Jordan, and I think if he was to make one of these kinds of Christmas cards he would put on the inside these wonderful words, “I have missed more than 9 000 shots in my career.  I have lost almost 300 games.  On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot and I missed.  I have failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”

Stop looking at other peoples’ Christmas cards coveting their lives.  They are walking their walk and you are walking yours.  They could be hiding many, many secrets behind those Colgate white smiles.  Life isn’t always about the perfect Christmas cards, it all about your failures and learning from them.  Let’s celebrate this Christmas season all your failures.  Cheers to a bunch more in the New Year!!