This time of year, it seems that many of us are preoccupied with finding the perfect recipes. The perfect recipe for the Christmas roast, the perfect one for the most sumptuous of desserts and for the booziest of cocktails. Then comes finding the perfect presents for all family members, including those you barely see twice a year and quite frankly, whose names you keep forgetting. Next on the list is hunting for the brightest Christmas lights and ornaments, making sure that this year your festive tree doesn’t go unnoticed in its color coordinated wonderfulness.

What have I left out? Truthfully, the list could go on for much longer, it depends on what fantasy you get drawn to fulfilling each year. Not that striving for an ideal is ever anything bad in itself, but this does become a problem when we slip into the habit of confusing it for reality. That merely manages to accomplish nothing more than to add unnecessary pressure on people, for no real reason, in addition to our already fully charged-up and busy lives. And what’s worse, it takes the fun out of these rather jolly holidays.

Just think about it, there are so many reasons to be on board with the whole Christmas-y operation we all go through each year – the festivities, the days off work, the excuse to eat as much rich, comforting foods as we want, have all the mulled wine in the world and try to sneak in a kiss to every cutie we strategically corner under mistletoe. So, why ruin it by chasing after that old boring nugget of perfection? Let’s just put an end to this madness, shall we?

“Of course everybody is going to post about the highlights of their cheery days and festive preparations for the family and friendly get-togethers. It’s only natural to not want to put too much emphasis on the rougher moments.”

 

Digital inaccuracies

First of all, step away from Facebook. Of course everybody is going to post about the highlights of their cheery days and festive preparations for the family and friendly get-togethers. It’s only natural to not want to put too much emphasis on the rougher moments. Nobody really wants to share and spread any negativity to everyone else and advertise their weaker moments. It’s only normal.

But from there to skipping into life-editing mode and posting it with religiosity on Facebook is just one click away. But everybody’s been there. Most of us take a few extra selfies before posting them, we write and re-write messages, e-mails, notes and everything in between. We tweak every tweakable detail about who we are and the person we want others to believe we are. That’s why stepping away from the self-made cinematics of everybody else’s online personas is really in your best interest.

“Most of us take a few extra selfies before posting them, we write and re-write messages, e-mails, notes and everything in between.”

Cinematic inaccuracies

What might seem a bit silly is to actually have to say this out loud: don’t believe those Hollywood blockbuster Christmas movies specifically geared towards spreading the message of ‘if people don’t spend their holidays with their immediate and extended family, all sharing a really big turkey, then that automatically makes you the Grinch’. Not all people have the luxury of getting days off work specifically to be able to feast on loads of food and get loud at the dinner table.

“You might just be going through a rougher patch this time of year, and will have had much better times than this specific craziness spanning over the course of a couple of days”

 

Not wanting to specifically spend the holidays the same way year, after year, after year doesn’t make you evil either. Indulging in a little bit of ‘you time’ this time of year, might the perfect medicine to start off a new one on the right foot. So stop worrying about not living the perfect holiday Christmas card and getting your annually ugly sweater under the watchful eye of your third cousin. You might just be going through a rougher patch this time of year, and will have had much better times than this specific craziness spanning over the course of a couple of days. Besides, life has the habit of throwing curve balls our way from time to time, so rest assured that excitement will always come knocking at your door, even if it doesn’t happen to come under the guise of a red-dressed fatty accompanied by caroling children.

Real-life inaccuracies  

Chances are you’ll get to hear the stories too. People are planning their winter escapades to fancy mountain resorts, or maybe this was the year they got their hands on the most symmetrical Christmas tree ever. And maybe just this time, you’re not really in the mood for celebrating anything. Maybe you’re not feeling too festive and that’s just how this year’s turned out. Or maybe it’s just not you to be into the celebratory on-demand cheeriness sometimes required of these holidays. And that is perfectly fine.

“Don’t feel sorry for the things you might think are missing just because others are bragging about having them. Spend your time the way you’d like to, without letting other people’s voices get in your head. Not even Santa’s jolly ho-ho-ho.”

 

Life goes on the way you make it feel, not the way you assume it should look like. And not the way others assume it should look like. Don’t feel forced to pretend for the sake of keeping up appearances. Don’t feel sorry for the things you might think are missing just because others are bragging about having them. Spend your time the way you’d like to, without letting other people’s voices get in your head. Not even Santa’s jolly ho-ho-ho. Appreciate and be grateful for the things you do have and realize that there is no real recipe to living life, or for that matter spending the winter holidays in any particular way. Become aware of this, accept it and let all the pressure drop from your shoulders. That’s when the real fun begins, ho-ho-ho!

 

O.P.

December 21, 2016