They are now filling your social media feeds, Pinterest, your favorite magazine, and holiday ads on TV: perfect versions of Christmas. While they are nice to look at and can provide inspiration for your own holiday decorating, cooking, and gift-giving, there’s a hidden danger in these perfect depictions of Christmas that can create stress and anxiety.
The key word here is “perfect”. When you’re looking at the holiday images you’re presented with, the danger begins when you start to expect your own family Christmas to have the same look and feel. As amazing as these presentations are, let’s be honest, duplicating them is about as realistic as wanting the perfect, air-brushed body that the model in the latest fitness or fashion magazine has.
Coveting a magazine cover Christmas can only lead to disappointment and a feeling of inadequacy, stealing your joy.
Deep down we know not to expect the perfect holiday display in a family with young children and pets. Yet, we may still subconsciously desire it. Those picture-perfect images make it look so easy. Then, when reality sets in and we find we cannot recreate the perfectly decorated home or a color-coordinated tree with designer ornaments, we end up feeling disappointed. We become discouraged when we look at the macaroni ornaments on our tree, the worn-out stockings hanging on the wall because there isn’t a fireplace and we display misshaped cookies on the plate.
Instead of the joy of the season, we can feel like failures.
When we fall into that perfection trap, we miss out what makes Christmas special. It isn’t about matching décor, gourmet food, and color-coordinated ornaments. It’s about sharing a special time of the year with our loved ones. It’s about sharing memories and making new ones. It’s about baking cookies, giving gifts, singing songs, hanging lights, and sipping hot chocolate (or tea if you know me at all, hehe). It’s about making handmade ornaments with the kids. It’s about being a messy, loud, and happy family enjoying time together.
Don’t let this idea of perfection steal the joy of the holidays from you. Go bake some cookies and make a big mess. Hang those construction paper ornaments with pride. Get out all the kitschy little decorations that remind you of your childhood. Crank up those holiday tunes and nestle up on the couch with some hot chocolate and sugar cookies to watch “The Year without a Santa Claus” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Crumbs on the blanket? Shake them off! You can run the vacuum when the movie is over. Got a light out on the tree, look at the ones that are shining. What counts is that you’re having a good time. Relax and enjoy the season.
This year, instead of perfection, choose to embrace coziness, happiness, and love.