I love social media. I hate social media. Since 2007 now I have been keeping up with long lost high school friends, college comrades, workplace colleagues, and hobby contemporaries. I have seen babies born, parents die, fortunes won and fortunes lost, plates of spectacular food, and new years weight-loss resolutions. It is an amazing tool when used responsibly. And by nature I think we all want to share these things. We want to invite our friends and family into parts of our lives they were unable to be a part of even just ten years ago.
But for the love of all things Zuckerberg please don’t be the parent that posts the Christmas morning photo of their child amidst an elaborate display of Christmas giftery – not on any social media platform. Nothing screams, “LOOK HOW AWESOME OF A PARENT I AM” or “Look at how privileged my child is” more than this sort of photo.
Now I know it is your Facebook account or your Instagram feed and you are free to post whatever you like. However, I encourage you to think about how the image is perceived. After all, on these audio-less, gesture-less, tone-less, platforms perception is everything! Parents who tend to share these types of photos probably aren’t trying to project anything other than an image showing just how happy their child is on Christmas morning. And what parent doesn’t want that? I mean, I HOPE the parents isn’t trying to use photography to brag about how much money they spent and how much more their child received than yours did.
It seems to me it is all about perspective and appreciation and the magic behind it all. The above photo is of Fergie, a 5-year old in the Philippines, who just received an Operation Shoebox gift last Christmas.
No doubt both children are equally happy. But the perception is hugely different.
Please understand that I am not trying to belittle anyone nor dictate how you and your family spends Christmas. What I am saying though – and without apology – is take a photo. Absolutely take a photo of your child’s holiday booty. But keep it for your own memories and your child’s memories. Don’t feel the need to plaster it on social media. If your new iPhone or tablet has already shackled you though consider just taking a photo of your child opening one gift or holding up his/her favorite gift, and sharing that instead!
Why do I say all this?
I want you to stop reading this post for a moment and think about the victorious photo up top and how it makes others feel: your friends, your family, your neighbor, your co-worker, etc. Maybe others can’t afford such a commercial Christmas. Through the year you have heard the gal in the cubicle next to you talking about her recent divorce and how she is having trouble keeping up with all the bills of being a single mom. Perhaps the coach of your son’s baseball team was laid off recently and is doing anything can to protect his kids from the harsh reality of unemployment. Or perhaps a nephew or niece will see the photo of their cousin and wonder why Santa seems to care so much more about your son/daughter than them? Their is a bevy of scenarios, none more important than the other.
Trust me, there are photos of my as a child with all my gifts laid out. We have photos of my daughter on Christmas morn surrounded by a seeming endless supply of discarded wrapping paper. But all of those are kept in our family for our special memories rather than splayed out for the world to make note of. And by now you are wondering what this has to do with tiny houses. I ask you, isn’t it this sort of conspicuous consumption, consumer entrapment, and even potential debt, that we are trying so hard to escape from? Then why put it on display and train our children up in the same way?
Enjoy your time. Enjoy the experience and magic of Christmas morning and enjoy the thought of just loving and living the moment with your family rather than how it will look on Instagram or how many times it will be pinned on Pinterest.