Those holiday movies that show families gathered around a bonfire with a blanket of snow outside may look idyllic, but they have little to do with reality and may even be dangerous to your mental health.

“Holiday movies, plays and television tend to be idealistic. They represent ideal situations that few people actually have and that can cause them to become depressed,” said Debra Wentz, president of the New Jersey Institute of Mental Health.

They amplify what people feel is missing in their own lives, Wentz said. Ideas about “utopia” and what an ideal vacation should be are getting stronger.

From old movies to social media, we’re set up to fail with unrealistic expectations, experts say.

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