It’s that time of year. Your social media feeds will soon be filled with pictures of Christmas trees and perfectly wrapped gifts, as well as the posts reminding us that some people can’t afford Christmas gifts at all. However, before you comment on any Christmas post, there’s something you need to know.
We’ve probably all seen it at one time or another, whether it be this holiday season or one past. There’s that picture of a beautifully lit tree with copious presents spilling out from underneath and even stacked up against the wall behind it. And, we’ve likely all seen that one reaction too — the one where someone “thoughtfully” points out, “Some people can’t afford a Christmas.” Sadly, it’s true, but let’s think about the precedence being set here for a moment before we jump on this bashing bandwagon.
Yes, some people can’t afford a Christmas, and those who defend making such a remark on a social media post of someone else’s gifts will say that children who may not get any or as many presents may see the image and wonder why they didn’t get as much from “Santa” when they were just as “good.” As Christians, we could debate over the whole Santa idea. I personally don’t do it, but this isn’t even about that. This is about something much different, which all of us should be able to get behind as reasonable adults, regardless of personal beliefs.
We should not have to hide good fortune and happy things. While it gets nauseating to see the always happy, perfect person posting blissfully on social media 24/7, should we instead be constant, miserable whiners? Yes, misery loves company, but what we should be teaching our children is to be happy for others, even if they don’t have what their peers do.
I was once one of those who couldn’t afford Christmas. I never thought others should have to keep their good fortune hidden as not to upset me. Furthermore, now that I can afford Christmas, I am a gift giver. It’s what I love, as do many others, and we shouldn’t be shamed into hiding our generosity, nor should others make bad assumptions.
If you see a tree overflowing with gifts, how do you know some of them aren’t for those “less fortunate”? You know what they say about making assumptions. However, even if every gift is for someone who’s already blessed and privileged, what business is it of yours to shame someone else’s good fortune, success, and generosity?
How about instead of shaming others with nasty remarks about their giving Christmas spirit, we celebrate them and the blessings they enjoy? And, not just at Christmas, but all year round. Stop guilting people into quietly hiding their good fortune and success. Success isn’t shameful! It should be celebrated. Applaud others, cheer their good fortune, and feel genuine happiness for others. Seriously. It’s not morally superior to berate others for having things that you don’t.
As for the “others can’t afford it remark,” to understand just how asinine this measure is for social media posting, some can’t afford food or even a home. So, shall we shame the posts taken of a decent meal or those taken in a home? Some people can’t afford the needed devices to be on social media, so maybe we should all just log out. Let’s be real. Life isn’t fair, and social media is a reflection of life to some degree — although it can be altered with certain “filters,” but that’s an entirely different story.
This is a perfect teaching moment for kids. Do you want to teach them to wallow in self-pity and shame others into hiding their happiness as to not make someone else feel bad or do we want to teach them to feel happiness for others? I seriously hope anyone would choose the later.
So, stop with the nasty, hateful reactions to other’s good fortune. Stop the success shaming. Period. Did someone get something you wish you could have had? Good for them! When did we become the society that gets upset when others get nice things rather than being happy for them? Feeling happy for them might actually take away some of your own negative feelings.
It’s no wonder there is so much depression in our society. When we are happy, we have to hide it because it might hurt someone else’s feelings. And, if someone else receives a blessing, people choose to react negatively rather than be happy for the other person. Crazy, isn’t it? Simply put, let’s be happy for others. That’s a gift that keeps on giving, and the only one you should concern yourself with.
So, friends, post those gifts, dinners, cruises, houses, cars, and business success stories, and I will celebrate with you. There’s no shame in your success, and if people can’t celebrate it with you, well, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. If you are one of those considering making a comment on your friend’s post of good fortune, reminding them others can’t afford Christmas, perhaps you should practice showing a little happiness for others because it isn’t all about you or your feelings. This Christmas, try a little more joy and a little less envy… and I bet we will all find a reason to celebrate the season.