Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time- Expectation Free Christmas



 Christmas is a time of peace. It’s a time of joy. The constant advertisements relentlessly remind us that it’s a time of giving.

It’s also a time of unrealistic expectations.

For example, the expectation that Santa will fit down your chimney.

A supermodel wouldn’t fit down your chimney never mind a fat guy in a red suit. If Mrs. Claus doesn’t break him of that cookie habit soon, he isn’t going to fit in his sleigh. You can forget about him cramming himself down your flue.

And what about the famous “eight tiny reindeer”? Tiny? Have you ever met a reindeer? I haven’t either, but that isn’t the point.

Reindeer are not tiny! I know because I Googled it. I worry that society’s unrealistic expectations of their size might be causing a little known, but detrimental complex amongst the famous team.

If an elf at the North Pole could contact me, I’d like someone to refute recent allegations of anorexia in Vixen and Blitzen. Please tell me it isn’t true, and don’t get me started on the stories coming out about Rudolf. I’m unprepared to face that kind of assault to my precious childhood memories.

I will buy that the reindeer fly. That part I can swallow.

But there are other Christmas expectations that weigh more heavily than Rudolf’s supposed missteps.

The expectation that everyone is happy at Christmas. The expectation that families come together in love. The expectation that for one day we lay aside our differences and celebrate a moment of peace.

This kind of expectation can inadvertently cause us pain because they are so rarely the circumstances we actually experience.

The emotions of sadness or despair don’t stop because of a date on the calendar. Not all families can be or want to be together. Differences will persist and peace, while available to us all, can sometimes feel elusive.

This Christmas, lay aside your expectations and simply accept that the fat guy will deliver his gifts, that he’ll do it in one night with the help of a team of healthy, flying tiny reindeer, and release any ideas of what Christmas should be.

Instead, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, have an expectation-free and merry Christmas!

Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at or contact her at