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Pinterest and the myth of holiday perfection
Pinterest and the myth of holiday perfection

Pinterest and the myth of holiday perfection

pinterest and the myth of holiday perfection

I lurves me some Pinterest. I’ve been on the site a long time; I can’t remember how long, but it was back when they were only allowing a few people in at a time and needed an invite. I scored one and never looked back. It’s purty pictures and the absolute best way to enjoy coffee on a Saturday morning. Or curled up in bed at night. Or killing time in a waiting room. I’m really not on there all that often, but I love it to death when I am.

But it has a crappy dark side, and it’s the same dark side that had me canceling subscriptions to lifestyle and parenting magazines years ago.

Too much of it is pretend. Make believe. Barbie Dream Houses for grownups. And little of it is relevant to my crazy life. As long as I remember that, I’m golden. I have well north of two thousand pins on nearly sixty boards. By the way, those numbers are insane for someone not on there all that often. I had no idea. Of those pins I’ve made quite a few recipes, am currently growing my hair out to match an adorable picture that will probably look way off-base on this 40-year-old greying head, and collect tattoos I like for the one I will get someday (yes, really…I’m leaning towards some kind of red poppies). I also keep track of blogging ideas and design and gifted issues and other things I want to have available for me and others to find. But I will never build a home that looks like the ones I’ve pinned, my garden will never be that vibrant, and dear god decorating is best done by someone other than me.

I am mostly ok with this, mainly because I just don’t want to add to the insanity that is already pretty high on any given day. The holidays overflow with craziness about perfection and shoulds and always-have-beens. I love traditions, despise rigidity. I fear that we look at these perfect little pinned lives and ideas and hope to recreate that in our messy and imperfect lives. We can’t.

Several years ago we had a very rough Thanksgiving. We drove 14+ hours to my in-laws, and not long after we got there A lost his shit. He was overwhelmed and over-excited and tired and the intensities pinned in the red zone and it was horrible. Just horrible. That was when I realized I will never have a Norman Rockwell holiday, and frankly, it was kind of a relief. I enjoy and appreciate the efforts others put into celebrating the holidays, I’m just not going to do it myself. At least, not at this point in my life. It’s not worth putting myself under even more stress just because tradition says I should decorate and bake and send handcrafted cards with witty individualized notes and do crafts with the kids and all the other crap that is all over Pinterest right now.

Build my own Advent calendar? My mother would kill me, she needlepointed us a beautiful Advent calendar a few years ago because I begged. And because they match the needlepointed stockings she did for us (I’ve had mine since I was J’s age, if not younger). Hollow out a pumpkin for a fondue pot? Oh hell to the no. Just no. And do NOT get me started on the guilt-laden mind-screw that is The Elf on the Shelf.

Twice-exceptional kids…well, my kid…are easily overwhelmed, don’t like change (preferring traditions), and generally make the holidays challenging. Please. Cut yourself a big ol’ line of slack this year. Play on Pinterest. It’s visual brain candy. But it’s a very sanitized and unrealistic snapshot of what someone else thinks the holidays should be. I laugh at, and then ignore, the sanitized and unrealistic snapshots of what someone else thinks my life should be, so why wouldn’t I laugh at and ignore the holiday version?

Go forth and survive enjoy your holidays with your quirky, twice-exceptional kids. Have the holiday celebrations that work for your family, not the glossy ones that are supposedly the “norm.” Play on Pinterest because it is mindless and fun, not to stress yourself out because your reality doesn’t match the online fantasy.

Unless the online fantasy involves setting fire to that whole Elf on a Shelf nightmare. The holidays are stressful enough without a mini clown-like creature stalking my house.


It’s the last GHF Blog Hop of 2013. Please go see what the other bloggers are saying about the holidays with gifted and twice-exceptional kids.



  1. Pingback: Surviving & Thriving at The Holidays with a Gifted/2E Kid Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

  2. The elf is evil. I judge parents by its presence or absence.

    One of the bonuses of my highly dysfunctional childhood is that our married holidays have always–we had 15 years pre-child–been so laid back as to be almost non-existent. She never even saw a Santa until she was five and a half.

    (I unsubscribed from magazines for the same reason, but boy, it was *tough* when I lived down the street from a West Elm. So much bourgeoisie envy. Ugh. And Martha Stewart Living just started showing up in the mail slot and now I feel compelled to bake things. All the things.)

  3. Jo

    Yep! I always have P’est Pour Parfait, the perfectionist poodle, snapping at my heels about you should do this and decorate with that and the results should all look, smell, taste, etc. as perfect as the ones in the glossy magazines and in the glossy internet pictures!
    Time to put the poodle out the door and just be happy!

    1. Jen

      Our old house was easier to decorate, so I felt a little self-induced pressure to make it look nice. This one is the exact opposite. I didn’t decorate for Halloween (not that I ever really do anyway), and last year…well, last year at Christmas was interesting. We discovered that a mouse had made a little rodent condo inside our Christmas tree storage bag, and half the tree was ruined. So we put the wee little top on the middle section and chucked the ruined bottom to the curb. The year before we had my parents’ false tree, but only put on half the branches so we could put it more flush to the wall. This year we’re buying a new tree….
      I don’t have the energy to really give a hoot about holiday decorating while the kids are home. Sad but true.

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