Stress-free holidays sometime seem like nothing more than a dream. However, with a proper mindset, a wonderful holiday season can happen.
A key tip to remember during the holidays is that photos you see on the internet are usually staged.
Yes, there, I said it. Many of the photos you see online are staged. As a writer and blogger, I stage many photos. We all have. No one wants to see the normal kitchen with the pile of school papers on the counter, right?
When you are on social media and checking out the newest Instagram posts or Pinterest pins, it’s great to use them as inspiration for your decorating, holiday decorating, gift-giving, and cooking.
However, while you are looking online for inspiration, remember there is a hidden danger in these “PERFECT” photos that you need to be aware of.
So, with that, here are my tips to have Stress-free Holidays!
Tip #1: To Have a Stress-free Holiday, Quit Wanting Everything to be Perfect.
Ask yourself this question. Is there anything really “perfect”?
According to Merriam-Webster’s, perfect means: being entirely without fault or defect : FLAWLESS a perfect diamond.¹
Let’s ask ourselves these questions first:
1. Is life perfect?
2. Should we expect life to be perfect?
3. Why do we get upset when life isn’t perfect?
I know you have friends/family members who constantly say their lives are “perfect”. Their spouse is “perfect”, their lives are “perfect”, their children are “perfect”.
There is no way their lives are flawless. I mean, they are never sick. They never have a flat tire. They’ve never argued with their spouse. Their child has never argued with them.
The last person I knew who said they had the perfect family is now divorced because their lovely and perfect spouse, whom they never fought with, who really didn’t care what they did or if they went out with friends, was having an affair.
Also, when you are seeing all of those holiday family photos with everyone in wrinkle-free fashion coordinated clothing, with their perfectly coiffed hair, standing in front of a color-coordinated tree, do not covet that photo.
Is that REALLY what they look like every day? No, they don’t. Remember for some, the holidays are all about impressing others. They are losing the reason for the family photos and what the holidays are all about. The holidays are not about outdoing the Joneses. It’s about family and spending time together with our family and friends.
We are one of those families who never have a perfectly posed family photo. Our tree each year is in our living room and is full of handmade ornaments. We have the ornaments my husband and I made as children, as well as the ornaments our children have made. Each Christmas, we purchase a new family ornament to add to the tree. Our tree is a miss mash of colors, themes, and ornaments; but that is okay.
Every time we look at our tree, we see memories. We remember the first Christmas for each of our children. We reflect on our first Christmas as husband and wife. For me, that is what matters the most.
When you covet someone else’s “perfect” life, all that will do is create disappointment, feelings of inadequacy, and undue stress that you do not need in your life.
The holidays on their own are stressful enough when you have kids in school. Between the holiday parties, the holiday concerts, and teacher gifts; that is enough stress without creating additional undue stress.
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Tip #2: Don’t Let Coveting a Perfect Magazine Styled Christmas, Ruin Your Holidays
When we fall into the trap of coveting someone else’s perfect Christmas, we really do lose sight of the holidays and their true meaning.
The holidays are about sharing memories and making new ones, creating baking memories with our kids and making fun Christmas cookies. It’s listening to Christmas music while sipping hot chocolate and making fun ornaments with our kids.
It’s not about the perfectly staged photos on social media.
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Tip #3: Reflect on Your Childhood and Your Fondest Holiday Memories
Thinking back to when you were a child, what were some of your favorite memories? Was it going to your grandparents? Or was it baking cookies with your Grandma?
For me, it was when we went to my extended family members houses and we got to play with my cousins. In addition to all of the yummy food, there was a lot of laughter, happy memories, and no one worrying about the perfect Instagram Christmas photo.
Honestly, some of the best photos I have ever taken of my kids during the holidays and special events have been the candid photos. The unexpected smile, the random facial expressions of my teen, or of them working on creating something.
Those happy childhood memories that you had are what your kids want too. They do not want to perfectly dressed, with not a single hair not out of place child in front of a perfectly decorated color-coordinated tree.
Your children want to be lounging around on Christmas morning in their pajamas with their toys. They want to be baking cookies in the kitchen and using their imaginations while decorating the cookies.
And most importantly, they do not want the memories of the Mom or Dad running around with lists, schedules, and yelling at them to smile for the 20th take of the family holiday photo. Do you really feel that when they are adults that they are going to look through the family photos and thank you for the perfect photos? No, they won’t. But what they will thank you for are the memories, the time you spent together as a family.
When you pass on their handmade Christmas ornaments to them to display on their own tree, they will remember that they were more important on the family Christmas tree instead of the color-coordinated ornaments you hung because you wanted the tree to be perfect and Instagram worthy. All they really want is time with you.
To end the post, I’d like to add this. Why not this year, instead of trying for the perfect social media Christmas and Holiday season, why not focus on a stress-free holiday season?
¹ Definition of “Perfect” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfect
Stock images are courtesy of Canva.