Finding peace with imperfection

I wish I could sit here and tell you how to entertain for the holidays, but I have to be honest with you. I am not a good host.

I am not really creative at this point in my life. I don’t love when a lot of people are coming over. I am not a fan of preparing. I am a last-minute gal who has no time to have a Pinterest dinner planned with coordinating activities.

I wanted to do the research for you and be helpful, but even to act like I have a little interest in what my home might look like this season would be a big fat lie. And we all know how I feel about being fake.

The truth is I don’t really care how my house looks or smells when you walk in. I don’t give too much effort in planning ahead to make it look as though my home is clean and orderly. I am one of the most unorganized people you will ever meet in this entire world. And although I used to make it a New Year’s resolution every year to get my life “organized,” I have decided that this year, I am not doing that to myself. I honestly, 100%, could care less if I ever win the Hostess of the Year award again.

I say “again” because, at one time, I did care. Oh, I cared so much, back in the day, before my life revolved around four bosses. I am not talking about having four jobs, with four people who rule my every waking moment. I am talking about my four kids, whom I have come to the conclusion rule my life.

Before the four littles, I was the hostess queen. I prepared the menu weeks in advance. I would have all the cocktails you could imagine. My table was set days ahead. I would clean until everything sparkled. I would even redecorate my home floor to ceiling sometimes, just for the folks who would be attending.

We were so excited to be hosts. I loved every single minute of it. The shopping, the planned games, the hors d’oeuvres, the desserts. I am becoming sappy just thinking about those days. Those days that I could actually set a table and nothing would get broken. I could decorate and not have it be destroyed. I could have conversations with friends and maybe a few too many gin and tonics. I could sleep in the next day.

I miss it. I had so much fun being surrounded with other adults and eating warm food.

Now, all has changed. I don’t have anything to share with you on how to entertain this holiday season because I likely will be grabbing a pre-made bag of salad and a store-bought relish tray on the way to any holiday party I might or might not attend.

Even though I can’t give you advice on how to prepare your home this holiday season, one thing I can say is this: Don’t get so wrapped up in the perfection of the party or the high standards you put on yourself to host. Just have fun. Take it all in. No one is going to be upset with you for ordering take out and having a cleaning lady come the day before. You don’t even have to tell anyone.

Don’t wear yourself out so much that you become too tired to even enjoy it all. Your joy should be happening right now, all over you, just doing life. Let that be the happiness that floods you this holiday season.

When guests arrive, really take it in. Take them all in. The voices, the laughter the warmth that fills the air. Don’t be so busy in the kitchen that you can’t embrace the people in your life that you love and hold close.

Let the dishes pile up when dinner is done. Just sit and be present this holiday season. It goes by so fast. We spend way too much time preparing and not enough time having fun with it all. Relax, and just be in the moment.

As for me, don’t worry. I love the stage I am in right now. Although, I am nostalgic for my old friends and perfectly coordinated parties, I know I will have that again in my life. It will be different. I will be able to reconnect with my old friends. That time around, I hope that our kids and their kids will all be accompanying me at our perfectly decorated table in our well-organized home.


Addie Graffin is a freelance columnist and blogger based in Platteville, Wis. Read more at

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