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Why Social Media Has Ruined The Holidays For Me

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

Maybe this is a rather hot take, but I personally believe that social media has tainted the holidays and their true meaning. Following Halloween, I found myself scrolling through TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat looking at hundreds of people’s fun nights out, costumes, and parties. Most of these people I saw were people who I didn’t even know in real life. It really got me thinking about the sheer amount of people posting every ounce of their Halloween that was post-worthy and why we feel the need to post so much anyway? At this point in social media history, we all know that it is “just a highlight reel” or “only showing our best selves” but if we are acknowledging the faults of social media that force us to be out of touch with reality, why do we all continue to participate? 

Our use of social media during the holidays, or any time for that matter, is something that will never go away in the digital age. The real question is why we chose to post the things that we do and why we feel the obligation to constantly appear to be better off than we really are.

The Downfalls:

It can be difficult to scroll through your feed on a lonely night in while it feels like literally everyone else is out partying, looking at Christmas lights, going to the city or even out to dinner. During the holiday season, this sensation of feeling inadequate seems to only be magnified. It is important to remember that just because other people are out doesn’t mean you have to be. Another unfortunate reality of social media around the holidays is the mass consumerism that goes with it. Unless you find yourself to be a minimalist, it is far too easy to get sucked into the idea that you haven’t decorated enough, bought enough presents, or even purchased the right cold-weather outfits. It doesn’t even have to be people flexing their large Christmas hauls from Target to make you question if you are doing the holidays “right”; it could be something as small as seeing a friend in a cute outfit wondering why you didn’t buy that skirt (even though it was $35). The point is that this comparison ideology is not only harmful to your mental health, but it is not what the Holidays are about. Truthfully, it shouldn’t matter how much money you were able to drop on decor or if your feed shows off your perfectly color-coordinated Christmas lights. Social media makes it so easy for people to feel like their life is not good enough, and it can be hard to get out of the mindset that seems to only be satisfied with unobtainable overconsumption. What happened to spending time with family?

Oh, right, that seems to have become a show, too. Many of us, myself included, have gone out just to take Instagram pictures, right? Although I find joy in taking photos, it is still important to note that going out for holiday festivities for the sole purpose of getting the right picture to show off to your followers ruins the memories that could be made in the moment. When thinking of things to do this holiday season, remember to enjoy them first and take pictures second. It sucks seeing cute couples, one after another, with the perfect pictures, seeing lights, and traveling, but that doesn’t always tell the full story, either. Social media is increasingly fabricated, and that goes for friends and family pictures at Christmas time, too. Sometimes, I just feel like the magic of the holidays isn’t the same in the realm of social media. The constant need to document your life, whether it be on Snapchat or Instagram, can weigh heavily and take away from the small, joyful moments. I would also argue that no one really notices if your story is silent for a day or a week or a month, so it is worth it to enjoy memories as they come. 

But hey, what do I knoW?

Maybe I am bitter, or perhaps I just want the holidays to feel as monumental as they did when I was a little kid. No matter what the reasoning, remember that your holiday season is as good as you make it, and sometimes putting away your phone makes things that much more enjoyable. 

Emma Julian

Illinois State '25

Hi! My name is Emma and I am a Sophomore at Illinois State! I am majoring in Marketing, but have a huge love for writing and sharing experiences with others. I enjoy writing about mental health, fashion, lifestyle, and wellness. I love writing for Her Campus since, to me, life is all about learning and sharing. Feel free to follow my Instagram: emmarosee13 :)