One quick question. Can you name one most impressive and special Christmas you have had?
This question may be easy for you to answer. And I know there must be a long list of different special and interesting Christmas stories we can hear.
Can you remember who did you spend your Christmas with last year?
Can you remember what food was served on your Christmas dinner table three years ago?
Not surprising that you cannot answer these because most Christmas you had are just simply replication of the portrayed ‘Perfect Christmas’. ‘Perfect Christmas’ consists of solely myths but nothing impressive and meaningful. We are celebrating the Christmas with stereotyped rituals mediated by movies, TVs and many more. More importantly, many people are strained of accomplishing the rituals and overspending during the holiday. Why do we need to be stressed of celebrating, spending and comprising because of the mediated myths? Let me break some Perfect Christmas myths today to redefine true Christmas spirit.
Myth 1: Perfect home
When talking about Christmas, the image of shinning Christmas trees and well-decorated home come to everyone’s mind immediately. All of our homes are ‘perfectly’ copying the style and design depicted on media. Being told by TV and magazines, we should have a Christmas trees with ornaments surrounded by tons of beautifully wrapped presents. We should have the ‘Merry Christmas’ banner hanged. We should have placed on the dining table the used-once-a-year table wares with Christmas printings. Does anyone have a unique decoration in their home? Probably only a few of you. What is the purpose of making the ‘perfect’ home which looks similar to those on TV and magazines? Are these what you want to do or what you should do? Attaining the perfect image of home has no help in making your Christmas wish coming true, in earning you money or popularity, or even in relaxing you from stress.
Adversely, you even get more stress during the decoration because you need to spare a time from your tight schedule to plan, to buy and to decorate your home. Also, you have to spend extra money in purchasing especially during the price-marking-up seasons during Christmas. It puts more burden to you tight budget as well as mental health.
Myth 2: Perfect Christmas dinner
It should not be the first time hearing people moaning because of the struggle of which parties they should spend their Christmas night with. Couples always have challenge in balancing between two grandparents getting to see their grandchildren. Youths at the same time struggle in spending the night with bunch of close friends, going different Christmas parties, or staying at home with families. It is all because every of us think Christmas is perfect when we have a full and fabulous schedules in gathering. There are also high expectations from our grannies and parents about all the extended family members returning home at this special time of the year. We follow the stereotype that Christmas must be celebrated with a wonderful and perfect Christmas dinner.
The fact is that these do not get us happier but more stressed. Yes this is true that it is perfectly happy to gather with extended families and friends but it is not necessarily be during Christmas. We are not necessarily strained because Christmas is not the only time we could gather with people. It is even more perfect if we could spare more time in visiting our grannies and friends in normal days. This can also save us from having financial difficulties in preparing luxury parties and Christmas dinner.
Myth 3: Perfect parents
Children are undoubtedly the least stress and the happiest during Christmas because they can enjoy the long holiday as well as ranges of good holiday treats. This is, however, putting burden on parents of being the perfect parents. They are expected to prepare the surprising gifts, cooking the most delicious meals, preparing the most impressive activities for their children. Children never understand the difficulties and stress their parents are facing but expect the more and more perfect Christmas every year because of the comparison between fellows and media. It is by no means that parents are perfect as reflected by these ‘Christmas rituals’.
The rituals are not only the ridiculous standard of perfect parents, but also the sources of parents’ stress. They gain higher expectations and are stressed in disappointing their children. It is hard for people with lower income to spare extra money in following the ridiculous Christmas ideals.
This tension of hope and expectation can trigger people financial stress and mental problem beyond their critical point. It is pointless to follow the perfect myths with no specific returns but only stresses. Perhaps meeting perfect Christmas expectations can help strengthen people’s relationships, but it needs not to be compensated by people’s mental health. We should reflect that what we truly want and hope to get during the holiday instead of blindly following the perfect Christmas myths.