A little while ago I wrote a list of post ideas to keep me going over Christmas and from my ‘sick bed’ today this one stood out.
I’m not actually sick but incredibly hungover from my works Christmas party last night.. and just this moment have remembered that I left my car keys in the car of my would-be lift but ended up going in to town (isn’t it always the way?) and so now I have to go and retrieve my keys this evening if I’m to get to work tomorrow and hear about everyone elses recovery/embarrassing stories.
So that’s 1 on the list for the idealised Christmas instagram lies to us about. Everyone looks super glam (I posted my own ‘look how fabulous I am’ photo) doing their festive social thing but unless they’re tee total, they likely aren’t looking quite so swish the morning after. I got a little carried away this year and bought at least 3 party outfits, thinking I was going to be just that insta-fabulous but I may be done on the 2nd.
If you’re a parent there’s an added level of pressure to this time of year. You want to create the most special and magical time for your whole family complete with cocoa bar and elf on the shelf. A scroll through my timeline shows me that everyone is doing a better job at this than I am and they’re spending a minimum of 20mins per evening setting up complicated pranks for their children to wake up to. I bought that stupid elf about 6 years ago and I’m over it now. Luckily my eldest is up for the task this year
Additionally, the pictures of beautiful, well behaved families by the tree or with Santa can make you feel entirely inadequate. When they’re young they cry, when they’re older it’s not cool to smile. I cherish the handful of nice family photos we’ve managed to snap over the years but the internet would have you believing you’re doing something wrong because every photo of their brood is candid perfection.
THE TREE! Can we talk about Christmas trees? Once upon a time the only time you saw someone elses tree was IN PERSON (What?) or maybe on facebook. Now we’re faced with on-trend decor, handmade baubles and 10ft trees with thousands of lights every time we pick up our phone. Decorating the tree should be a family affair, we should be able to live with imperfect ornament placement but comparison is the thief of yet another Christmas joy.
Lastly, CHRISTMAS EVENTS. Whether it’s a fair, a light show or a local market, it rarely lives up to the hype. I’ve been to a few Christmas markets at this point and they’re all overpriced and overcrowded. I’ve taken photos that look like I’m having a fabulous time in a winter wonderland but more often than not I’m cold, looking for somewhere to sit and irritated by the drunken hoards around me. I do like an open air ice rink but almost every other festive ‘event’ has been a let down.
More than anything, it doesn’t feel like we’re living our best Christmas life unless we get the happy snap to prove that we were having a shiny, sparkly time, does it? If we don’t get a picture smiling with santa, icing cookies with the kids or next to the big tree with everyone in matching jumpers (that would be a Christmas miracle) then did we do Christmas at all? If you don’t have a boomerang clinking cocktails with your bestie or kissing your significant other under the mistletoe.. did you just sleep through December?
Even if you’re pretty strong in your resolve not to compare your life to the edited life of strangers on the internet, most of us these days do feel the pressure to commit our own festivities to ‘film’ and that is possibly what is ruining Christmas for me. Maybe it’s not instagram per se but the culture social media has created around showcasing our lives. It wont stop me sharing the edited stuff but I am going to try to be more mindful of what I share and keep a level of honesty to avoid feeding to beast.
*I was going to re-stage this tree moment with Milo when I had on my matching PJs but Ella took these (without my knowledge) while we were actually placing the star and I looked past the yellow jumper and less than perfect lighting etc to see a genuine moment – let’s have more of those!