Perfection is overrated, especially during the holidays

Kym Seabolt's cat Kia on her new cabinet

I went simple with our Christmas decor this year. I could claim it’s my zen, minimalist lifestyle kicking in, but I don’t like to lie this close to Christmas. We have a kitten in the house now. I made a decision this year not to put up any holiday decor I couldn’t stand to see knocked to the floor.

Our eight-month-old Maine Coon/Ninja mix, Kai, delights and terrorizes the household in equal measure. His enthusiasm knows no bounds. Kai already spent most of November gleefully knocking decorative gourds off the mantel, oftentimes narrowly missing the dogs. Granted, that may have been his intention.

I purposefully did not put anything heavy on the Christmas mantel, just in case his aim has improved. As I think back on twenty-plus years of Christmas in this house (wow), I recall the years of glorious excess. Generations of holiday ornaments and decor all gathered together in a retro hodgepodge.

Other years, like this one, I prefer simple greenery, ribbons and some twinkle lights. This is a “simple year.” I see no need to put my great grandmother’s antique angels at risk.


This does not mean I didn’t splurge. Days before Thanksgiving, I was minding my business when I wandered into an auction barn. Before I really understood my own thought process, I ended up bidding on, and winning, an eight-foot-tall antique stepback cupboard. As you do.

I also purchased an 88-inch-tall pier mirror. Obviously, I make my purchasing decisions solely on the basis of how ridiculously tall an object is. The beauty of an old house with high ceilings really comes through when someone is offering a steal on overly large home furnishings. I suspect I won the bids based on being one of the only bidders who had a home that could accommodate them.

Bringing it home

I was also probably one of the only bidders with a husband and son who would willingly cart them home. I was so enthralled with my winning bids that I could scarcely sleep the night I won them. I’m usually more of a “getting rid of things” type of person these days.

Yet for these items, so perfect for our home, I felt like a kid at Christmas. Special arrangements were made to haul them home on Thanksgiving morning so they would not risk being broken during the general pickup. I went on and on about the “wavy antique glass.” Suffice to say it was too pretty for words.

The day it was to come home, Mr. Wonderful and BoyWonder backed the truck containing my treasure up to the porch steps. They each grabbed an end. Mr. Wonderful said to BoyWonder, sagely, “make sure you hold that door shut, we don’t want that glass to break.” They hefted it up and into the house. I stepped back to bask in the glory and wonder.

Disaster struck

At that very moment, one of the glass doors swung open — directly into a dining room chair. The sound of antique glass shattering pierced what can only be described as stunned silence. Mr. Wonderful, to his credit, looked awestruck.

GirlWonder, upstairs, called down “what happened?”

BoyWonder, frozen in place, still holding his door firmly shut, could only say, in awe, “Mom is speechless. It’s kind of scary.”

Clean up

I’d like to say I was cool, calm, and collected. That I understood immediately that accidents happen. That I was kind and forgiving. I would like to say that but none of it would be true and again, I don’t think I should be lying this close to Christmas. No. I took it pretty hard.

I stomped to the broom closet with my jaw clenched. I swept up all that broken antique glass (sob), and stared with unmasked disdain at the now gaping hole where that glass used to be. I was so mad. On this cozy Thanksgiving morning the weather outside wasn’t frightful but for about an hour the mood indoors certainly was.

Here I was, keeping seasonal decor safe from the cat, meanwhile human error tripped us up? There is a lesson in there somewhere.


Of course, I eventually calmed down. I had some turkey and some pie. Within 48 hours, Mr. Wonderful and I went on a fun little road trip to buy a replacement piece of antique glass. We had dinner and a pretty nice time when we were doing so.

Our local helpful hardware folk put the glass into the antique door so deftly that you would never know it had ever been broken.

I looked around our cozy, comfortable home full of people — and possessions — that we love. I remembered that broken things can be put back together. More importantly, that perfection — at the holidays or any day — is definitely overrated.

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