Have a Merry Have a Merry INSTA XMAS
Post images of home-made baubles and dogs in antlers if you wish, says beauty vlogger Sali Hughes – but remember to #stayinthemoment
Some time in late November, perhaps early December, Elf is on TV again and something strange happens on social media. Self-promotion is overlooked as the opening credits of Will Ferrell’s film about Santa’s gigantic helper roll, and Facebook et al. giddily declare Christmas open for business.
Since my first Christmas on social media, just under a decade ago, I’ve seen dozens of new traditions take hold. Whether it’s live-tweeting a new TV commercial or comparing cracker jokes, users in their millions celebrate the festive season with their virtual friends. But using social channels over Christmas can be fraught with faux pas and poster’s remorse, so it’s judicious to have some ground rules.
If you find yourself sitting with your relatives trying to cope with Uncle Clive’s sexist jokes without bursting a blood vessel, seek solace in like-minded followers by all means – but always stop at naming names. Anything online exists forever, few people deserve to be shamed before a global audience and, besides, Christmas is a time for tolerance – even if your family didn’t get the memo. If you are posting festive snaps, do it sensibly: it isn’t wise to show the world your house is unoccupied, or to show o every gift in an online Christmas catalogue for burglars. Present-posting of any kind can be risky, in fact. I love seeing festive Instagram images of socks, books, bubble bath and Toblerone, but jewellery, handbags and other luxuries most people can’t aord? Not so much.
New Year’s Eve is a great time to join in the celebration with online friends – and a joyous reminder that you’re not the only one who chose to avoid the New Year’s Eve bustle by staying in and watching romcoms in your PJS. In fact, social media becomes one big, lazy house party where you can relax, chat and laugh without having to clean up after. A review of your year on Facebook is a nice idea, but resist the urge to make a braggy list of accomplishments.
You can, however, ignore grinches complaining about Christmas tree pictures on Facebook. Bah, humbug! to them. Seeing children hang home-made baubles is wonderful. Likewise, dogs in antlers, cats rolling in wrapping paper, dads snoozing in wonky paper crowns – all are just the ticket. Just don’t sour the mood with online arguments about Donald Trump. Instead, pledge to focus on the fact that you have no work and no diet restrictions for the next three days.
But for goodness’ sake do all of this sober. If your fingers are so sticky from drinking eggnog that they’re making typing a challenge, you’re too drunk to be broadcasting on the Internet. Alcohol and social media don’t mix. Which is one of the many reasons why, apart from the odd happy 10-minute burst, I make sure social media doesn’t play a pivotal role in my Christmas. Online festivities are a joy, but no substitute for quality time with old friends, kids I adore, and the husband I found… on Twitter. w&h