Have you looked through Facebook lately?  Have you visited any of your friends’ houses who have perfect Christmas decor?

I look at those beautiful mantels that are adorned with Christmas villages and greenery and perfectly matching stockings.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Every stocking is the same size, the same color and print, and they have those beautifully embroidered names or cute matching hand-made name tags attached to them?

I used to envy those houses.  

I wanted my house to look like those out of a magazine with perfectly placed decor and matching stockings.

Spoiler alert:

My house does not look like that.  

Instead of perfectly placed decor, I have a cat condo, a nativity scene in which the shepherd is usually toppled over, and more dog hair than Christmas lights.  It’s like the tinsel of our house except instead of adorning the tree, it covers our floors…and our couches…and our clothes.

Our stockings are not matching.  Instead, they are perfectly mismatched.

We have the snowman and Santa stocking that I bought for the two older kiddos when they were just babies.  Every year they had the discussion of whose was whose.  I still can’t remember which one is the boy’s and which one is the adult’s.  

We have the two almost matching ones that are red plaid, one denoted with a large “E” for the youngest and the other one for daddy.  It’s fitting that her stocking almost matches his because they are like a carbon copy of personalities.  Out going, adventurous, and always up for anything.  

We added a stocking this year as our almost 22-year-old adds her wife to our family Christmas and they choose to spend their precious time off with us.  Of course we chose a Rudolph stocking because you can’t have Santa and a snowman without having a Rudolph.

The dancer girl and I may have even added a stocking for the four legged zoo we entertain around here.  (Shhh…don’t point it out to the hubby.  He’ll roll his eyes at us. 😂)

Then, there is my smaller stocking with teddy bears sleeping with visions of treats in their heads.  It’s the same stocking I had when I was a child.  The same one that matched all of my siblings’ stockings with the exception of the front design.  I still remember the scotch tape on each of them where my mom wrote our names so she could keep them straight.  That piece of scotch tape still lives inside of my stocking with my mom’s handwriting spelling out my name.

The thing about matching stockings is that they look beautiful and corroborate the idea that life is perfect and we have our shit together.

But we all know the truth.  Facebook pictures lie, and magazine covers are staged.

Those matching stockings look beautiful, but I no longer have any desire for them.  

If I were to buy matching stockings on my next Target run, I would be able to sit in front of my fireplace and marvel at the beauty, but that’s not what stockings are for.

Stockings are for holding treats and treasures and memories.  I remember my stocking filled with jewelry and trinkets and lifesaver roll Christmas books (if you know, you know).  I remember the excitement of waking up and finding my stocking on the couch or in a chair on Christmas morning.  My stocking.  The one with the teddy bears sleeping in bed and the bow on the top.  The one with my name taped inside.  

My stocking. My memories.  My childhood.

You see, life isn’t supposed to match. It’s just not how life works.  

We aren’t supposed to have matching pj’s and matching wrapping paper and matching stockings.  If we did, we would lose the comfort of being ourselves.  We would lose the colorful display under the tree.  We would lose the memories that we hold so closely to our hearts.

I don’t want my children to grow up remembering how perfectly adorned our house was.  I want them to grow up remembering the happiness and the excitement of finding their stocking on Christmas morning.  Yes, even as a grown adult, teen, and pre-teen (going on twenty).

I want them to remember the way they felt on Christmas morning.  I want them to remember laughing.  And yes, I even want them to remember the dog hair and the cat hair and the mess.  

Life isn’t supposed to match.  

Because that is real life.  Unfiltered by Facebook posts and edited photos.  Real life.

So, tonight as I sit on my couch and relax before bed, I’ll enjoy the perfectly mismatched stockings that hang from my mantel.  

I’ll remember my own childhood Christmases and look forward to what this Christmas brings.  The presents will soon be forgotten, but the memories?  Those will last forever.

Be grateful (for mismatched decor), water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.

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  1. Your tribute to real life and to what really matters, touched my heart. The feelings, the memories, and the closeness of our humanity are what count. Amen to a happy home with mismatched Christmas stockings.

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