Every so often, just for a good laugh, I drop by the library to leaf through one of those “beautiful house” magazines.

I chuckle at the photos of homes occupied by families of six that are immaculate. I giggle at the suggestion that some more rods and baskets would give me a clutter-free closet.

But nothing gives me more cheer at Christmastime than looking at the holiday issues of those magazines. The pages are resplendent with full-color photos of shimmering trees and rooms that gloriously glisten and gleam.

Famed decorators give tips about how to recreate the look in your own home, with sage advice about using cut pine boughs and grated cinnamon sticks to add an enticing aroma during festive gatherings.

It’s pretty obvious these decorators don’t spend time in houses like mine. I don’t have a vaulted ceiling that allows for a 12-foot Christmas tree done with white lights and gold decorations.

I don’t have a family room that can be converted to a cityscape that includes a working train set and hand-painted miniatures.

My kitchen doesn’t have a long granite-topped center island or a double oven to make holiday baking a breeze.

In other words, I live in an ordinary house — which is lived in like an ordinary house.

I suspect I’m not the only person whose dining room table has become wrapping central, and will remain so until the last gift is beribboned on Christmas Eve. I suspect others also walk around storage boxes in their living room, and still haven’t sent Christmas cards, even though the big holiday is less than a week away.

Having a magazine-worthy house is something I aspire to. Every year, I wonder if this is the Christmas I pull it off — when my dishes all coordinate, my decorating theme continues from room to room and people are amazed at how wonderful it all looks.

Yet every year, I am well aware that’s not going to happen. I’d rather have the kids help with my tree than have one with symmetrical lights and theme ornaments. So there’s a NASCAR racer hanging next to a glass angel. If it makes the kids happy, I can live with that.

Back before Hubby retired, the grandgirls and I would have what we call “pajama and popcorn” nights, when we’d watch a movie in our PJs together and eat popcorn. Since we hadn’t done it for a while, we indulged last Saturday.

As is our holiday tradition, the movie of choice was “Elf,” now quickly becoming a classic.

We let their Poppy join us, and substituted pizza for popcorn because they were starving. By the time their mom got home from work to retrieve them, one of the girls had fallen asleep in her nest of blankets on the floor, another had curled up with the dog in a favorite watching position and the other one shushed her mother when she walked in and said hello.

The house is still messy, decorating and baking still awaits, but you know what? It really doesn’t matter anymore.

The Christmas spirit was alive and well in my living room, and I’ll take that any day over a perfect decor.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cshaffer@dailyindependent.com or (606) 473-9851.

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