The Perfect Christmas – Memory Versus Reality

By on November 12, 2015
Love the Coopers

By Carol Doyel –

I don’t know if there really is such a thing as a perfect Christmas, but I remember a couple that came close. As I reflect back on those Christmases, when our children were young, I remember the long leisure days of hanging out at home with the kids. Playing with them and their new toys in our PJ’s, which we would wear until it got close to dinner. One of the few days of the years that I allowed myself to totally relax, and let the house go, while snacking on left over Christmas Eve turkey or ham and pumpkin pie, maybe for breakfast or anytime I felt the urge to have some more.

If it happened to be snowing we would all bundle up in our snow clothes, and take sleds to a hill just outside of our neighborhood, with the kids dawning their new gloves, scarfs, and/or hats if they happened to get them for Christmas, which was very likely if there was any sign of snow in the forecast.

fall scents for your home
Our youngest son and me on Christmas Eve 2013 in Palo Verdes, CA

Our youngest son with me on Christmas Eve 2013 in Palo Verdes, CA

The best memories are of my kids coming down the stairs, rubbing their sleepy eyes in their new Christmas PJ’s which we allowed them to open Christmas Eve so they could wear them Christmas morning. Our daughter was almost always the first one up until she hit the teenage years, at which point her youngest brother took over as the “caller” waking everyone up to get started. But as our kids got older, and we got home later and later from Grandpa and Grandma’s who lived on an Island about an hour away where we spent Christmas Eve’s, we would all sleep a bit later, and a more relaxed approach to the present-opening ordeal.

My husband would make Christmas dinner, after the first time or two, it became a tradition and one of the rare times that my husband took over in the kitchen. He even made the gravy. Family members and friends usually joined us for dinner as we all gathered in our formal dining room, a rarity; it seemed it was used more for school projects than dining. Most of our meals were eaten in the nook between the family room and kitchen.

The perfect Christmas

My husband and I in our PJ’s on Christmas Eve 2012

Along with the memories of the close to perfect Christmases, there are a few that come to mind that were not quite as perfect. I think we all have funny holiday stories and memories. One that comes to mind for me is from many years ago, when I was a child myself. A Christmas Eve that was spent at my mother’s aunt’s house – known as Aunt Sid. Now she was a character, one that not even a funny movie could portray. She was a great cook, spent all day cooking most holidays and on special occasions, while sipping whiskey. By the time dinner was done, she was done. This particular year I remember Aunt Sid and her husband, uncle Clyde, arguing –which was not unusual. I’ll spare you the details, but as I think back on it now it strikes me as very funny. I think all of us if we’re honest, probably have an Aunt Sid or Uncle Clyde in the family that you can reminisce about.

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is watch heartwarming classic Christmas movies as well as really funny ones, like the classic movie – A Christmas Story. I think we watched it every year for 3 decades. There is something about getting a really good, and often a much needed, laugh during a time of year that can be stressful and we can use the diversion from the cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and all the holiday activities that can leave you exhausted.

This year, if you want to get a really good laugh check out this holiday spoff:

LOVE THE COOPERS  – That Opens In Theaters Friday, November 13

Love The Coopers follows The Cooper clan as four generations of extended family come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration. As the evening unfolds, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday.

The reality is, there is probably no perfect Christmas – but what’s important is spending time with our loved ones, even the Aunt Sid’s and Uncle Clyde’s…or the Coopers! 

To enter for a chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card to go see the movie, Love the Coopers, click here to go to the LivingBetter50 Facebook page where you will find the post with a link to register for the giveaway.


Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 26+ years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern CA. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.


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The Perfect Christmas – Memory Versus Reality