Let’s give ourselves a break
Social media has made the festive season more bonkers than it’s ever been, reckons Donna Douglas, who is giving herself a break from Instagram
How social media can turn Christmas into an insta sham!
Idid something shameful with a box of mince pies last night. No, I didn’t eat them all in one sitting. Although I must admit there was one stressful Christmas when the family went all Game Of Thrones over a game of Pictionary and I locked myself in the bathroom with Mr Kipling and a bottle of Baileys.
But not this time. This time, I carefully arranged the pies on a pretty vintage plate, dusted them with icing sugar, took a photo and posted it on Instagram, claiming they were my own work.
What sane person posts a photo of mince pies so strangers can see them and possibly feel bad about themselves?
Christmas has never made sense, but in recent years, it has become even more bonkers. I blame social media. Time was when your Christmas could be as low-key or as tacky as you wanted, and only your loved ones were any the wiser. But now, thanks to Facebook and Instagram, it has a one-upmanship about it.
It all started when photos of people’s Christmas trees started popping up on Facebook. But these were no ordinary trees. These were works of art, like in the window of a posh department store.
There were themes, too. Who knew Christmas decorations had to have a theme? Not me. But of course, you can’t have the same theme every year, can you? That would be as shameful as turning up in last year’s party dress. Which is why our loft is now taken up with boxes of themed Christmas decorations. You want Scandi chic? We’ve got it! An Aladdin’s Cave theme of opulent gold and jewels? Yep, we can do that, too. I kind of miss our battered old baubles, each with their memories. But the foil stars our daughter made at nursery will never inspire envy, so they just have to stay in their box.
It’s the same with the food. If your table doesn’t look like something from the M&S festive food brochure, then you’ve failed. Last year, we experimented with a goose.
Not because any of us particularly wanted to take a trip into the culinary unknown, but because my sister thought it would be more Insta-worthy. It might have looked good online, but we paid twice as much for a bird that didn’t even stretch to a post-dinner sandwich. But at least it made some stranger at the other end of the country feel a little bit bad about their supermarket turkey. But those mince pies were a wake-up call. Isn’t Christmas stressful enough without setting ourselves up to be judged? If I want someone to insult my life choices, I’ll just invite my mother-inlaw. And she’ll polish off the leftover advocaat while she’s doing it.
Let’s give ourselves a break this festive season. Let’s accept that perfect family Christmases only exist in John Lewis ads. Put the camera away, stop worrying whether your decorations are chichi enough, or your canapés will make your friends and followers properly envious, and just enjoy yourself with the people who matter. Because that’s what Christmas is really all about, isn’t it?
‘Our loft is taken up with boxes of themed decorations’
‘And here’s a batch I made earlier. Ahem…’