Christmas Day As Told By Social Media
Does anyone else feel obliged when asked how their Christmas was to respond with 'it was really great, thank you'.
Does anyone also feel like they could never say 'to be honest it was nothing special' in case of being mutilated from giving a negative response?
I know it's Christmas but it's okay to admit that sometimes it's just another day in the calendar..
For me personally, I'm a big sucker for the festive period itself rather than the 'big day'. I love getting all snug & cosy, hunting down mini Christmas markets to indulge away in & finding myself clutching a vast variety of simmering hot beverages. But in all honesty, Christmas Day isn't really as fabulous as it's advertised to be.
Perhaps that's down to the perception of the 'perfect Christmas' slathered all over social media/ advertisements & therefore we pressurize Christmas Day to be far more 'perfect' than it realistically needs to be.
It's pretty tricky to write this post without sounding like a complete selfish dick. I know that I am very fortunate & lucky to have a family to spend the day with & a roof over my head, but I guess my point is that social media has rhinestoned the heck out of Christmas Day & thrown another bunch of unrealistic expectations into the mix.
I see some drop dead gorgeous feeds on my social media platforms of the most insane festive layouts that you could ever imagine. Delicate champagne flutes, cinnamon infused holly wreaths, fairy lights scattered, marshmallow & cream loaded up hot chocolates & of course the snuggliest pyjamas you could ever lay your eyes upon.
But it's so easy to feel a sense of comparison?
I also find myself compelled to 'match' these festive rituals so that I too can achieve a this aesthetically pleasing Christmas Day. It just looks far too good to be true!
& perhaps it is.
It's all very well drooling longingly over these perfected photographs & videos but in reality, how long did these set ups take to achieve? How much is just for show & isn't at all practical?
I've especially found myself lusting over gift wrapping - which sounds incredibly stupid now that I've written those very words out.
For years I've told myself I'll Pinterest the crud out of my wrapping skills & each year results in another terrible wrapping failure. I mean, I have zero patience & an attention span of a flea when it comes to wrapping, so I have no idea why I keep fooling myself that I'll produce these beautiful packages that look angelic underneath the tree.
To sum me up, I grab the nearest roll, cut (more likely tear) a random sheet off - (of course without measuring how much paper you'll be requiring because that's another pointless faff) & then try to control my breakdown as the monstrosity unfolds before my very eyes. Nothing folds neatly, lumps & bumps bunch up & no matter how much sticky tape you end up using - it never smooths out those creases.
That folks, is how I wrap.
Shall we move onto the baking aspect? Help us all.
I dare not attempt to go near that oven, we have a very wild & not so great relationship that seems to always set off on the wrong foot. So the oven & I have come to a mutual agreement that we just don't approach each other for the foreseeable future.
Therefore, there will never be a fresh batch of mince pies or gingerbread men awaiting to be demolished - it's safer for everyone's health, trust me.
The Christmas Tree - where do we begin?
My family have never owned a 'real' tree as we've always lived with a bundle of cats or dogs & therefore we've never thought a tree would survive the odds. So, we have a sweet little faux tree (faux is a prettier word that fake, right?) that is dismantled each year & stored in the attic.
I personally am not fussed when it comes to real or faux trees - I think it's entirely up the circumstances & preference, there's no right or wrong. Although, I'm always told the real ones smell insane! I've yet to smell a Christmas Tree..
However, our Christmas Tree never looks like a work of art. It doesn't look like the Covent Garden beast that towers high, filled to the top with meters of fairy lights & baubles as large as my head.
It usually looks like tinsel has thrown up all over it.
But not the 'cute' Christmas Tree's that have retro inspired decorations & adorable tacky ornaments. No, it just looks like a family owned tree that hasn't had hours spent arranging each bauble & insuring the lights are exactly several inches apart in width.
& at least we've finally let the faux snow spray lay the rest in the dustbin.
I personally feel that Christmas Day is what you make of it - each family have their own traditions & unique ways of celebrating. There shouldn't be any pressure to achieve such expectations that are slathered all over social media or advertisements to create these faultless Christmases because in reality it's just one big celebration with those you love, whether that's stuffing endless cheeseboards or cracking out the board-games that are usually left to gather dust in a cupboard.
Perhaps it involves some sort of karaoke, or dropping by each of the grandparents in a mad carpool marathon or starting the day with a bucksfizz or three.
My family have always differed with each Christmas, so much so that we rarely celebrate the day itself anymore. Having grown up with a step-family, we've always used Boxing Day as the 'big one'. As my siblings & I have grown up, we've found different challenges to throw into the mix such as a work rotas. This year, my brother & his girlfriend were working throughout the Christmas period & my step-brothers are often with their immediate family. Therefore, Christmas was pretty quite for us & I spent the majority of the day rotting in my room.
Guarantee I was sweating out a stomach bug, but I was pretty chilled with a stash of chocolate & green tea, catching up on some content & making the most of a pyjama day - my favourite!
So for me, Christmas was just another day.
We're not one to dress up in matching pyjamas nor cosy up for the festive movie marathon - but that's just how we work as a family.
I know that I always feel a slight sense of jealousy when Christmas Day is told through the eyes of Instagram. But it's easy to forget that each family & lifestyle is very different from the next & not to get caught up sharing that day through someone else's lens. It's almost like you're spying?
Just because Instagram or other social media platforms emphasise how great something can be, it doesn't mean you see the whole picture. I saw someone wrote the other day that Instagram just merely shows the 'highlights' & you can always edit out the bad bits. Couldn't have put it better myself!
Let's talk about blowing the budget on all that tack that will no doubt fall into the Boxing Day sale. There seems to be a pressure to blow the budget on all things Christmassy when realistically, it's one day out of the 365. Essentially it's a dressed up roast dinner!
I too feel compelled to splurge on simply ridiculous things such as bunting decorated with dinosaurs in Santa hats - why? I love dinosaurs but for some reason Christmas brings along that little voice in the ear telling you to splurge.
& it's even worse if you see your favourite bloggers or YouTuber's sporting that very same bunting. Well if they have it, then surely I need it! But if you slow down just for a second before purchasing & stocking up, this tack will decorate your home for less than a month.. a month.
& I can promise myself that it will be an investment piece for many Christmases to come but I knew I was most definitely lying to myself. No doubt the next year will bring more novelty bunting but this time a dinosaur riding a sleigh.
It's so easy to break the strict budget you set aside for yourself on unnecessary things & that's why I end up stressing myself out over my spending's at Christmas.
Reality is, wait until after the Christmas commotion & you'll find those beloved decorations in the sale for half the price. There always seems to be a 'need right now' aspect that creeps over me during December & it takes a lot of self control to slap myself out of it.
There also now seems to be the added pressure of 'have I spent enough on that person?', which is ludicrous. If you purchase a gift for someone, you've clearly thought about them & know that they will love that purchase. But then doubting the price tag hasn't met the target? Why should it be about the amount rather than the gesture?
The amount of advertising that is splashed in every eye shot to encourage even more splurging at Christmas is endless.
It's literally everywhere! Social media, magazines, advertisements on TV & even in stores.
& if you're not being encouraged to purchase more for Christmas gifting, then you're being encouraged to purchase for yourself. How many emails are received by our favourite much loved brands to make a cheeky purchase or two for the festive period? What about a new outfit or three for Christmas Day? Or all the offers that are flooding in whilst the big day looms.
There just seems to be a mass of spending encouragement! I've found myself unsubscribing to so many emails & 'hiding' the advertisements that pop up all over Instagram & Facebook because I know that I'm just far too weak to stop myself scrolling.
Among the ciaos, I much prefer the festivities that accompany Christmas. It simply does seem like a magical time of the year when you stop looking through the eyes of social media & strip back the splurging.
Plus December is insanely mint for lighting up those sweet scented candles, indulging in chocolate for breakfast, the cracking Christmas lights that are littered outside homes & towns (if you haven't checked out Carnaby Street's Bohemian Rhapsody tribute I highly recommend!), mulled wine at every corner & of course the tunes - I LOVE CHRISTMAS MUSIC.
So there you have it, a slightly moany old post about the unnecessary exceptions of Christmas Day as told by social media. But hey, I'm 26 so that moaning aspect is only going to increase, right?
Happy New Year xo