As the holiday approaches, many of us can feel our stress levels rise. Lists are made of what we need to purchase, what needs to be done in our home, and what gluten-free food should be made for everyone to enjoy. This time of year is portrayed as fun and magical but can quickly become overwhelming.
Social media can reinforce to us that our holiday should be perfect. Scrolling through social media shows perfectly decorated houses, happy families, and amazing gluten-free treats. This causes undo stress as we start to question why our holiday does not seem so perfect.
This portrayal of the perfect holiday on social media is not realistic. It is easy to make something look perfect in a picture you can take many times. A time of year that can be so wonderful becomes so stressful when we try to measure our holiday based on pictures we see of others' lives. Our expectations are unrealistic. No one's house is perfect. That perfect gluten-free dessert you see online may not have come out perfectly the first time. It's also possible that it does not taste as good as it looks.
When you think back to your childhood what do you remember fondly about the holidays? Was it about the presents you received? Were you concerned about your family house being perfectly cleaned and decorated? Were you worried about the way the food tasted?
When I think back I couldn't tell you if our house was perfectly clean. Honestly, as a kid, I didn't care. I don't remember what gifts I got each year. What I do remember fondly is sitting on the stairs with all my siblings waiting for my parents to tell us we were allowed to open presents. I remember the big black trash bag to put all the wrapping paper in. I remember my Uncle coming over and giving us little plastic army men. I loved that! Not because I played with them or even really liked them, but because it meant my Uncle came to visit and thought of all of us. I don't remember things as much as I remember the way I felt. I felt surrounded by people who loved me. Does that mean we had a perfect day? No! I have five siblings. There were some disagreements.
Remember as we approach the holidays that none of us are perfect. No matter what holiday you celebrate, it is not about perfection. It's about spending time with those we love. Don't worry about your house if it isn't perfectly cleaned. No one is going to notice, and no one will remember. Let go of the little things. Spend time with those you love, and laugh. If you make something that doesn't turn out well, let it go, it's okay. Don't fret over the perfect present focus on being present with those around you.
Holidays can be tough for so many. Go out of your way to be kind to strangers. Remember to have patience. We never know what others are experiencing. Most importantly be kind to yourself. Don't over-commit yourself. Allow yourself time to sit back and enjoy your holiday and remember no one and no holiday is perfect.