A Warning for this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Over the holiday week filled with family and friends, I made a terrible social blunder. Unfortunately, this is a blunder that no amount of apologies can fix and no amount of regret can change. I have made my mistake and now must live the rest of my life knowing that this bell cannot be un-rung. For this reason I am sending a message to the edges of social media in hopes of sparing others from the shame I feel.

Please, friends, keep your smart phone by your side at all times. Be sure to constantly post pictures online of every meal and activity that you participate in. Stay the course. Keep disciplined. Have no regrets.

Unfortunately for me, my zest faded. I was not able to go the distance. I began to focus more on the people I was with, thus neglecting my phone.

To be sure, I started my week well. Pictures of children and laughter and fun exploded across my Facebook feed. Smiling faces documented the delightful, magical life I was living as my family and I spent time together.

But then…

The hubby, kids, and I travelled to Orlando to gather with more family for a couple of days. Much to my social-media-posting regret, I began to enjoy time with the people I was actually in the presence of. We had conversations filled with laughter. We shared tasty food. We explored the resort on bikes and paddleboats. We played tennis, shuffleboard, basketball, ping-pong, and card games. And where was my phone? My phone sat ignored and unused in my hotel room, much like the Gumby toy I unsuccessfully tried to pass down to my first-born.

With Christmas on the way, I know I need to change. After much thought and research (meaning that I had an idea while putting on my shoes this morning and thought I’d make up a bunch of stuff to fill a page), I have put together some tips on how to make the most of the holidays. No one should have to experience the trauma that I have endured.

1) Be sure to take pictures of everything you eat. Did family beat you to the table while you were still washing up? That’s okay. Your family loves you very much. They will be thrilled to get up and leave the room so that the full spread of food and centerpieces can be captured for your followers’ enjoyment on social media. Just grabbing a cracker? It takes so little effort to set it on a holiday themed napkin.

2) While attending a holiday event of any size (party, concert, dance, parking the car at the mall, fetching the mail, etc.), be sure to get selfies of you and the other significant people you are with. All memories are precious. Be sure to capture each unique experience. Bonus selfie tip: you plus one other demonstrates that you know how to have deep, intimate relationships; you plus as many as can fit in the frame shows social media that you are most-likely super fun to be around and are probably really popular.

3) Take time to think of others. If you aren’t posting pictures of all the wonderful experiences you are having, your friends and followers will have no choice but to view ads for useless products, inflammatory political pieces, and videos of farm animals jumping on trampolines. (I swear, if I see one more ad for the international snack box membership…)

4) If you don’t have photo evidence of anything you do, did you really do anything at all? This type of void can lead to self-doubt and a loss of self-worth. The holidays are stressful enough without having the added psychological stress of self-shaming.

To find out the significance social media plays in the average person’s holiday experience, I consulted with a prominent statistician*. (*My hubby who appeared slightly annoyed with my “pestering” questions the other night while we watched TV.) When asked what correlation is shown between the number of holiday pictures posted on social media and levels of self-esteem, he responded with troubling words.

“Are you going to fast forward through the commercials?” he asked while munching on cinnamon bread.

Is this not proof enough? I forgot to post pictures from an entire weekend of fun-filled events, and now I’m practically invisible! I was ignored by my own husband. Don’t let this tragic fate fall on you.

There are lessons to be learned here, my friends. First of all, you’ve probably just wasted a LOT of time reading this when you could have been doing just about anything else. Secondly, take a plethora of pictures no matter what. (For a complete and authoritative study on the meaning of “plethora,” be sure to watch The Three Amigos.) Finally, don’t be like me and abandon your phone this holiday season. It is a truly faithful companion that provides an easy and efficient way to post to social media. You are too valuable to risk falling into online-invisibility.

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