Ah, Christmas. You’d be forgiven for forgetting about it, of course, because you are an adult now, and December is just you attempting to balance heavy seasonal drinking with an also heavy pre-Christmas workload, then failing to balance the two, then watching one (the workload) crash and burn, then drinking more prosecco to compensate and eventually buying all your presents in one panicked, drunken sitting on Amazon at 2AM.
But it is here, which means that soon enough some of you will be at home with family, possibly for longer than you are usually at home with family. You will have to sit through at least one afternoon-long game of Monopoly which results in someone (possibly you) storming off, three viewings of Love, Actually in your pyjamas, and endless glasses of shop-bought mulled wine, each glass getting less and less mulled until you are simply drinking it directly from the bottle at room temperature.
Back in the day, that would be it. But we have Instagram now, and so much of the festive period will also be spent mindlessly scrolling through other people’s posts and stories to pass the time / drown out the noise of your uncle’s hard-right opinions on Brexit. We know we should get off it and experience real life! With the family! Who are in front of us! But we can’t stop, can we. Here’s every post you’ll see on Instagram this Christmas.
THE FAMILY CHRISTMAS MEAL
Taken and subsequently posted on Christmas day itself. Usually, because whoever organised this event has been doing it for years so “knows what’s what” (read: astutely refuses any offer of help or tradition-breaking suggestion). The entire thing looks beautiful: tinsel-adorned, soft lighting, delectable gravy, two grandparents in matching snowman knitwear etc. etc. Delightful.
THE FRIENDS / FLATMATES CHRISTMAS MEAL
Taken and subsequently posted in the days leading up to Christmas, these are consistently bad photographs. No-one knows how to actually cook properly yet, and although the food may taste Almost Good, it looks very bad. So bad, in fact, that it is never, ever worth taking a close-up picture of the plate – Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire puddings lit brightly and harshly by both the flash and the shadeless glare of the overhead lightbulb because none of you can afford a lamp to bring a bit of fucking ambience to the room – and posting it on Instagram for all to see. Never.
SELFIE WITH A FESTIVE FILTER
Opinions on the selfie filters that now adorn Instagram are wide-ranging. You might be one of those inexplicably angry boys on Tinder who resolutely state in their bio that they are “Fucking tired of seeing fake girls using filters on here. Only swipe right if your [sic] a real woman!”, or you might spend hours Googling “cheap easy safe plastic surgery near me” after seeing what you could look like in an alternative reality. But the Christmas-themed ones are just such an easy Instagram post, aren’t they? What is technology for, if not to bring a tiny GIF of Shrek wearing a Santa hat dancing atop your now-considerably-higher and plumper cheekbones?
SPONCON FROM AN ESTABLISHED BRAND, WHICH YOU DON'T NOTICE AS SPONSORED AT FIRST BECAUSE – IS THAT A MEME? HANG ON – YEP, 'THAT MOMENT WHEN YOU NEED TO DO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING BUT YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO'. AH YES, LOOK AT THAT, THEY HAVE GRACELESSLY BUTCHERED A MEME FORMAT TO PROMOTE THEIR TWO FOR £24 BEANIE OFFER
Nothing is sacred anymore lads. Not even the humble meme.
SOMEONE'S SNOT-COVERED BABY STARING VACANTLY AT A PILE OF WRAPPING PAPER AND CUDDLY TOYS
“Noah’s first Xmas!” reads the caption. “He loves his new booties!” Here’s the thing: we understand that your baby is a miraculous bundle of joy and he does look undeniably cute in the tiny elf costume. But do we have to see seven consecutive photos of him in a row? Do we have to then, after dutifully liking all seven photos, also have to see an Instagram story that’s just him “opening” all his presents – and by that we mean you, unwrapping the presents that you painstakingly wrapped the night before, while he sits there drooling and possibly shitting himself? Is this essential viewing? Just something to think about.
THE 'NOT ONLY DID I PAY £65 TO ATTEND A CHRISTMAS PARTY WITH MY AT BEST TOLERABLE COLLEAGUES, I ALSO DRESSED UP FOR THE OCCASION AND I LOOK FUCKING FIT' POST
You’ve got to give it to them – fair enough. Anyone who manages to serve looks during the festive period must be applauded, sprinkled with likes and lifted high above the rest of us, who appear to be playing a daily game with ourselves involving sticking as many cheese and crackers in our mouths as humanly possible plus also some smoked salmon straight from the packet – yeah, yeah I’ll wash it down with some Buck’s Fizz, honestly Who Gives A Fuck Anymore – all in one sitting. Happy holidays, one and all!
AN INSTAGRAM STORY SHOWING A PHOTO OF AN LED CHRISTMAS TREE WITH THE 'ADD A SONG' FEATURE ENGINEERED TO PLAY, WITHOUT WARNING, 'A FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK AT FULL VOLUME' WHILE YOU'RE IN AN OTHERWISE SILENT LIBRARY
The ability to add a song to an Instagram story, while bringing an undeniable sense of highbrow artsiness to even the most mundane photograph, is in my opinion actually terrifying, too loud and should be banned going forward. Thank you and goodnight.
SOMEONE (KATIE?) FROM SCHOOL WITH 'THIS ONE' AT WINTER WONDERLAND
Why are you following them again? You must have followed them back in 2012 when you first got Instagram, then forgot about it. But here they are with their significant other (or #fiance, as you can now see in the endless pile of hashtags beneath the post) at Winter Wonderland or Local and Particularly Underwhelming Christmas Market in matching reindeer antlers with a pumpkin spiced latte and some “boutique” halloumi fries. Ugh, gross! You think to yourself, before the slow and crushing realisation hits that actually, maybe these people have in fact, won Christmas, and maybe you will always be alone.
SOMEONE OPENING ONE OF THEIR DAYS IN THEIR LUXURY BEAUTY ADVENT CALENDAR TO REVEAL A MICROSCOPICALLY SMALL POT OF FIRMING LOTION
Anyone who has one of these advent calendars was either given it by their mum, displaying a level of family-oriented generosity that, I don’t know, might be too much, or has purchased it for themselves in a radical and insanely expensive act of pre-Christmas self-care. The indulgence levels are off the charts here. Self-love of this scale has only ever truly been paralleled in The Emperor’s New Groove.
AN INSTAGRAM STORY SHOWING A PHOTO OF AN EXPERTLY DECORATED CHRISTMAS TREE THAT PLAYS, WITHOUT WARNING, WHAM'S 'LAST CHRISTMAS' AT FULL VOLUME IN AN OTHERWISE SILENT TRAIN CARRIAGE
Again! And it’s your fault that this keeps happening! Turn the volume down before you flick through the Instagram stories! Really basic stuff.