The Danger of Coveting a Pinterest Christmas

Whether you scroll through Pinterest or Instagram, flip through your favourite magazine, or see holiday ads on TV, perfect versions of Christmas are popping up everywhere during the fall and winter months. While they are nice to look at and can serve as inspiration for your own holiday decorating, cooking, and gift giving, there’s a hidden danger in these perfect depictions of Christmas that you need to be aware of.

The key word here is “perfect.” When you’re looking at these holiday images you’re presented with, there’s a real danger that you start to expect your own family Christmas to have the same look and feel. That’s about as realistic as wanting the perfect, air brushed body that the model on the latest fitness or fashion magazine has. Coveting a magazine cover Christmas will only lead to disappointment and a feeling of inadequacy.

While we may intellectually know not to expect the perfect holiday display in a family with young children and pets, we may still subconsciously want it after seeing these perfect holiday visions all around us.Since we can’t realistically have a perfectly decorated home, or a colour-coordinated tree with designer ornaments, we end up feeling disappointed when we look at the macaroni ornaments on our tree.

True story: Christmas is MESSY. It’s school art projects coming home by the armful. It’s baking with children (if you have the time) and that is never tidy. It is extra stuff and extra people. It’s extra activities and more running around. It’s heightened emotions and excitement, with more opportunity for meltdowns. Do you ever see any of that on Pinterest? 

Stop striving for perfection. Instead, focus on enjoying this lovely season. At the end of the day, it won’t matter to your children, spouse, or siblings how perfectly you wrapped their gifts. What matters is that you chose something meaningful. Don’t spend hours upon hours getting the tree decorated just right if it stresses you out. If you’re enjoying it and decorating makes you happy, by all means go for it, but don’t force yourself to create a picture perfect holiday home. Instead, turn on some Christmas music, get the kids, and have fun decorating the house. Then pile everyone in the car with some hot chocolate and go look for Christmas lights.

When you feel yourself falling into the trap of wanting a perfect Christmas, think back on your own favourite childhood holiday memories. It probably wasn’t about having the perfect tree or nativity display that couldn’t be touched. Instead, the most precious memories are things like baking cookies, making ornaments, or singing Christmas Carols at the top of our lungs.

When we fall into that trap, we miss out on a lot of what makes Christmas so special. It isn’t about perfection, gourmet food, and colour-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 Christmas songs, hanging lights, sipping hot chocolate, and make more of those beautiful handmade ornaments with the kids. It’s about being a messy, loud, and happy family enjoying Christmas together. 

Don’t let this idea of Pinterest perfection take the joy of the holidays out of 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 then nestle up in the couch with some hot chocolate to watch Elf. Who cares that there are crumbs in the blanket and one of the lights on your tree is out. What counts is that you’re having a good time. This year, instead of perfection, embrace coziness, happiness, and love.

Merry Christmas!

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