Christmas is about nothing if not tradition. And in that spirit, I’ve rounded up the different people who will traditionally creep onto all your feeds this yuletide and be traditionally grumpy about them.
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!
7) The supermarket sweeper
“STILL HAVEN’T BOUGHT ANY PRESENTS!” they announce at 2pm on December 23rd, with all the self-satisfaction of one who really enjoys the smell of their own farts. “OH GOD WHATAMI LIKE? Just going to bosh it all in an hour at Westfield then go to the pub!!!”
We love these people, of course, because they make us feel like some kind of cyborg Kirstie Allsopp by organisational comparison. We love telling them, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fiiiiiine!” We love imagining them six hours later, dehydrated and weeping salt tears into a pile of cut-price Cliff Richard calendars in a little-visited corner of BHS having lost all sight of what their families are into, or what nice things even look like. And we love imagining said families opening presents that were entirely purchased from the WH Smith at a regional railway station. Again.
Unless it’s us with the Ginsters pasty and geometry set come Christmas Day, in which case it really isn’t funny.
6) The festive over-achiever
Also known as ‘Richard Curtis groupies’, or ‘Boners for Bublé’. You’ve barely had time to put your winter weight duvet on, they’ve already been ice skating in three historical London locations, flown to Cologne for a photogenic turn round the Christmas markets, looked whimsical in knitwear at least five daytime events and whimsical in sequins at eight nighttime ones.
Their specialties are: red cup selfies, gingerbread selfies, the snuggling of cats while wearing reindeer slipper socks, overuse of the paltry selection of Christmas emojis and Instagrams that say “It’s beginning to look a lot like cocktails!” They also think that Keira Knightley kissing Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually is completely fine.
5) The Christmas police
To the festive fuzz, your innocuous tree photo on 29 November makes you pretty much a murderer. A murderer of good, honest winter bleakness, who must be stopped and publicly tried for the good of us all.
“TOO EARLY!!!” they splutter, doing a citizen’s arrest in your Facebook comments. “ABSOLUTELY NOT. SHUT IT DOWN.” How very DARE you try to get your money’s worth, because Christmas trees cost many pounds and you’re actually not going to be here from 21st December to enjoy it? Who told you it was OK to watch Elf before the first door on your Advent calendar was even open? Did you think for a minute that if you quietly lit a cinnamon candle and opened a bag of lebkuchen in the privacy of your own home, nobody would find it offensive? You MONSTER.
Whether they were once cast as Herod in a school nativity and never quite got over it, or are just worried you’re going to somehow use up all the Christmas joy before they can get to any, it’s hard to know. It’s also hard to care.
Once we reach mid-December they must spend two silent, feverish weeks suppressing it all until 2 January, when Twitter will produce a photo of a lone Crème Egg spotted in a shop in Barnsley and they can unleash a fresh batch of rage.
4) The turkey titivater
Taking a photo of your Christmas dinner is going to happen. That’s a given. It’s a human reflex. But insisting relatives let their sprouts get cold while you set up your portable lighting rig and climb a bookcase to nail the perfect overhead food shot is not in the true spirit of Christmas, so you can hold your hashtags right there.
No, everyone knows that in order to be properly festive, your Christmas dinner ’gram needs to be grainy and blurry with the lovely yellowish hue that befits a pile of carbs eaten at 3pm in December while wearing a slighty-too-tight paper crown. There’s a time and a place for artful food photography, and it’s about 200 miles of motorway from here. And don’t you dare put your shoes on that dining chair, your auntie’s only just taken the seat protectors off.
3) The Family Fortunes hopeful
So-called because from mid-December onwards, they never appear not flanked by a grinning row of siblings, aunties, cousins and Nans.
The siblings, aunties, cousins and Nans all look like lovely people, and yes Debbie’s new conservatory IS looking lovely and little Jimmy probably DID do exceedingly well as second oxen from the right at the carol concert, but you can’t help feeling there might be a better platform for these 48 family snaps than Instagram, where they’re currently nestled between a photo of your friend Big Bear Brian naked but for some sequin Santa pants, and Kylie Jenner in a waist trainer. Though it’d be a shame to let down all the people who are definitely searching the #lovemyfamily hashtag.
2) The compulsive live-tweeter
Hurrah, there’s a lovely film on that we all love! Sharing this love across a digital platform is one of the purest joys of the festive season, and our lives are all a little richer for it. What good taste we all have to enjoy this slightly naff, but unashamedly lovely, thing.
Until the lovely film finishes and another one begins, and they live-tweet that too, with fewer people. The next day they can’t find a lovely film so they select ‘My Cosy Magical Santa Adventure’ from their DVD shelf and livetweet that, followed by DIY SOS at Christmas. Later they livetweet the Post Office queue. On Christmas Eve they livetweet ‘cooking a gammon’, followed by ‘throwing up an undercooked gammon’. By the time we reach the Mrs Brown’s Boys Special, you’re beginning to wonder if there’s a charity helpline you can contact.
1) The ones who are nostalgic for 2015 before it’s even over yet
“2015, what a year! I visited 12 countries, ran three marathons, made some amazing new friends, had four haircuts, got engaged, got married, had a baby, got promoted, got divorced, did a short prison spell, discovered my love of journalling, worked my way through 26 Leon loyalty cards, got drunk with five heads of state, found my soulmate Sergio.
“I just want to say thanks to everyone who supported me through some tough times this year, which I won’t specify here because I want to drive you mad with curiosity. You are all amazing stars and will be receiving gratitude through the post in the form of a £5 Ryman’s voucher. Those of you who didn’t support me can go and chew on a stale dog turd. You know who you are.
But I’ve helpfully tagged you below, just to be sure.”
Main Image iStock/Neyya