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Changing the Lens of a Picture Perfect Holiday

The increasing expectation of romanticizing our lives through social media adds to the stereotype that the holidays should always be a celebrated time. While this may be true for some, many are faced with the dilemma of not having an instagram worthy, picture perfect holiday, even though their time was just as worth celebrating.

I’m sure you all have seen a snow globe in the past. The reflective crystal surface with various kinds of light, confetti, snowflakes, or sparkles, and each experience of an individual is similar to that of a dazzling snow globe with a unique image or character inside. Like the reflections and scenes in snowglobes, your time is full of your distinct perspectives and stories to envelope and reveal however you wish. 

The holidays are supposed to be a time to watch the cold snow fall softly outside your window, make sugar cookies with your friends, watch holiday movies and eat extravagant meals with your families. They’re a time to cuddle up under blankets, and put up Christmas lights everywhere you can. The only caveat is that—the holidays are not supposed to be anything specific.

Everyone celebrates differently and some people may not celebrate at all. That doesn’t mean they are any less “Thankful” or any less “merry” than people that do. It’s perfectly okay to bask in the sun instead of playing in the snow, to drink iced coffee instead of hot chocolate, watch horror movies instead of ones about people trying to save Christmas or finding a runaway turkey, or if you simply prefer to relax by yourself instead of throwing a party with friends. AND, “ It’s perfectly okay to not have anyone to celebrate with or if you’re an avid hater of those colorful holiday lights too.”

Real Talk

To be honest, for the longest time growing up, I felt so disconnected from the image of the holidays that the media portrayed from families and friends groups in movies to people’s seemingly perfect social media posts.

My family never really celebrated or went on ski trips, or baked cookies together, and I hadn’t made a habit of getting together with my friends to hangout and exchange gifts.


The climate here, also never really aligned with the “perfect snowman/snow angel making weather from movies either.”


Now, that didn’t mean that I was unhappy or that we didn’t take the time to celebrate small things or have fun breaks, it just didn’t necessarily fit the traditional “Happy Holidays” image.


This feeling of out-of-placeness especially arose as social media platforms like Instagram, Tiktok, and Bereal have been so quickly established and spread.

 Let’s Be Real for a second though, there isn’t much that is truly authentic about any of these platforms. Even though they all seem to encourage posting images that cast a genuine lens, most of the images are still people doing things that they considered to be “Instagram Worthy ” or highlights of their experiences. Most pictures posted online are carefully tailored images of people living under their interpretation of their “best life.”

Not only that, but influencers and media have been following the trend of romanticizing everything from school, work, the gym, and everyday activities that most people in the past would attend with their hair tied up in a half done way and wearing a random school t-shirt and some comfortable pants. 

Now, this romanticization puts pressure on people to turn their everyday errands and jobs into something that fits an aesthetic or trend or characterized internet persona that people have fostered. Instead of wearing sweatpants, and a random shirt, there are expectations to romanticize these little activities, and wear “cute” clothes, carry a “Stanley” cup around, and fit, for example, the “Pilates Princess” aesthetic or a “Cozy Winter” aesthetic. These categorizations only end up putting more stress on people, to make sure that their everyday lives are as “exciting” and “cheerful” as their best times shared on social media. Frankly, none of that is very real at all.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many people of all cultures and backgrounds that do not feel pressured with social media, and I completely understand that making boring or repetitive tasks or errands a little more enjoyable is no crime or stereotype. For some people those little things and pick-me-ups make life a lot more motivating and create a whole world of difference.

The only caution is that at times like these it can be difficult to draw a line between whether the romanticization of a task is for yourself or for the sake of making your life appear more aesthetic online. Richa 16 years

For example, I tend to need motivation to complete tasks like putting away the dishes, cleaning my room, or completing my daily stack of assignments, and I find that lighting a candle, curling up in a blanket, or even watching a video of someone else being productive can help at times. Nonetheless, I am not always in the mood or headspace to enjoy those things, and thus I can find those nuanced tasks more distracting or draining than beneficial, and that is perfectly normal too.

If you’re ever feeling sucked into social media’s convincing appeals, here are some tips that could help you create limits, so you can enjoy your time during the holiday in a way most supportive to your needs.

Tips To Guide You Through Your Holiday Media Presence

By asking yourself this, you are letting yourself sit in your emotions for a second and identifying the underlying energy at that moment. If you are feeling drained for example, you can then decide what is the best activity to do to genuinely help yourself recharge and clear your head. From there, if you need further motivation and feel the need to use media as an outlet for inspiration, feel free. Just make sure you’re aligning with your needs to feel the best you can!

When you are stressed, it can sometimes be your first instinct to grab your phone and start scrolling on social media with the hopes that someone else’s life, experiences, and achievements, can calm your system. While the intention is right, this can sometimes have adverse effects and leave your feeling more drained, defeated, and lonely. If this is your situation, disconnecting from your phone, devices, or media, could really help you center yourself, and feel less pressured to be a certain way or the feeling that you need to do what everyone else is doing to be celebrated. Remember, you’re doing okay, and that you know yourself better than anyone else, so do what makes you happy!

Contrary to prior advice, consider finding motivation and energy through romanticizing your life. Feel free to do so in a way that makes you happy and safe during the holidays—whether it aligns with societal expectations or not. Prioritize self-care by engaging in activities that bring you joy, be it watching a movie, taking a walk, or embracing your own unique preferences, without the need for external validation.

Have a restful and joyful Holidays, regardless of how you choose to celebrate or not celebrate them! Remember, all snow globes are different, spread light on your story in whichever way suits you best!

Author: Richa, 16
NoFiltr Youth Innovation Council Member, Digital Resource Expert

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