Merry Social-Media Christmas

As I scrolled through my facebook and Instagram feeds this morning, I found myself feeling a bit overwhelmed. My breathing quickened, my heart raced and I thought I might be having a panic attack. What was wrong? you ask. (Thanks for asking.) But, really, nothing. Nothing was wrong. Everything was right. So. Very. Right. It was...Perfect.
Yes, I'm talking about the "Christmas of 2015" posts. Holy crap! You all had a great year! And as I looked through all the pics- fancy tables, gifts piled around the tree, beaches, and Disneyland- I realized how lacking I am. I mean, seriously, I suck at Christmas.
But then a little voice whispered (I hear voices, don't judge), "No one's life is like that all the time."
Oh, right. It's the social media bear trap. You know, where everyone posts all the best stuff in their life while behind the scenes they're just as screwed up as the rest of us? I'm guilty of it. Yeah. I delete pictures and crop and filter the ones I post. Ain't nobody need to see my gray hairs and wrinkles! I put up our best and brightest moments, too.
(I'm not in the picture because my hair wasn't done.
And I didn't have a Star Wars shirt. And it's out of focus.Like me.)

So, while I was thinking about all this perfection,and the guilt it creates, I decided I'd give you all a belated Christmas gift--and tell you about my failures this Christmas.

Fail #1- I am over this Santa thing.

It's been 23 years I've had to pretend about Santa. And, no, I'm not a Santa-hater, I think it's great. But after a while, you get tired of having to come up with an explanation about why your kid gets a Nerf gun from Santa when his friend down the street gets an XBox1. Noah (the only one left who believes in the Big Guy) told me a few weeks ago about a gift he wanted-

N-I want a remote control BB8 for Christmas.
Me- Um, ok. Let's look that up. (furiously typing on computer)  Whoa. That thing costs $200. How do you think you can get a gift that costs that much?
N- Uh, Santa.

It took every ounce of willpower I had to not say, "Yeah, Santa? That's me. Always has been. And I don't have $200 for one gift."
Maybe next year he'll find out the truth.

Fail #2- We had help.
Here's a little confession- we didn't have enough money for Christmas. I know, I know, no one wants to talk about money. It's uncomfortable, But I'm going there. We have one income, I'm in school full-time, six kids at home and a missionary out. Big surprise-money is tight. So, we had help. Some very kind and generous people helped with our Christmas. Here's the thing, we all want to give service at Christmas, but no one wants to acknowledge they need help and therefore, don't want to accept it. Hey, people, how can anyone give service if no one takes service??? It's ok to need help now and then, we all do. (And, if you don't need anything, but someone wants to do something for you, let them. Don't deny someone blessings because of your pride.)

Fail #3- My house is not clean.

Nope. We straightened and I made the boys vacuum on Christmas eve, but it wasn't spotless. I don't know when's the last time the kitchen floor got mopped (all this snow? ten minutes and it'd be muddy again). We sat on Christmas morning surrounded by wrapping paper and candy wrappers and paper plates. With smiles on our faces. We can clean later, the mess isn't going anywhere.

Faces like this are more important than mopped floors.
Fail #4- We ate unhealthily.
This probably isn't a big surprise, we all splurge during the holidays, right? But, our Christmas doesn't consist of a fancy-sit-down-tablecloth-and-china dinner. I made a ham. And rolls (Rhodes, because I didn't want all that work). I managed to ruin the "good Jell-o" by forgetting it was in the freezer to cool. It was a bright red mess of glop. I also forgot the veggie tray fixins. So, we had ham and rolls, and sausage and cheese, and candy. I don't think any of us ate a single vegetable all day. (Yet, somehow, we're all alive.)

Fail #5- My kids played video games. All day.
Hello, my name is Julie, and I let my kids play video games.
They all asked for video games. So we let them play video games. All day. Guess what? It was quiet. All day. Yeah, now who's crazy? 

Fail #6- We weren't spiritual.
OK, this is one I do feel guilty about. We usually start Christmas day with family prayer and some reflection on the true meaning of Christmas. This year, I was tired. And excited about skyping with Sadie later. And, we skipped it. And, we didn't lose our testimonies or forget why we celebrate.

So there it is. My not-so-perfect Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love social media and I LOVE seeing into the lives of my friends. This is just a gentle reminder not to compare our failures to the stuff we see online. Be fair. Be kind. Love yourself a little more. And give yourself a break. You're doing just fine.

                                     Merry Christmas!


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