Let’s face it, the holidays are a time when we tend to overindulge – whether it’s that one more piece of fudge, that glass of eggnog, or impulsive online shopping. Our use of social media is not immune to this tendency either. In fact, we may be more active on our social channels around Christmas than Santa’s elves at the North Pole.
Here are six tips that might make your holiday season a bit more joyful.
1. Be present
Sticking your nose in your iPhone while the family opens gifts will not endear you to fellow gift givers, and you should beware of trigger moments if you self-identify a social media addict. If you are obsessed with #Foodporn, for example, the actual meal may be challenging for you. While staging the perfect Insta-worthy shot of the turkey and cranberry sauce on the plate may be your idea of appetizing, your tablemates may not agree and simply want to say their prayers and dig in. Trimming the tree should be a time filled with laughter and mirth, not liking other people’s post. My rule of thumb? Ask yourself, do you want to be with the Gram or the grandma?
2. Ask for permission
Not everyone has the same tolerance for social media sharing as you do. Many parents have strict rules about featuring their children online. ASK BEFORE YOU POST! Always. In addition to that, don’t be mean. You may think it’s funny to feature a photo of Uncle Wayne slumped in the easy chair with all his double chins on full display after too much eggnog. Uncle Wayne probably does not agree. Some adults just plain don’t want their business out there. Don’t confuse posting with provoking.
3. Ponder before you post
Of course, we only want to share the most fabulous, gorgeous selfies and beautifully curated aspects of our lives on social media. I’m definitely guilty of that. However, pause before posting and probe your motivation. Ask, “Why am I posting this?” Get real: Are you a ‘boaster poster’? Are you just showing off or are you sharing something that your social media community will truly appreciate and enjoy? I don’t know about you, but when someone in my Facebook feed gets all self-aggrandizing – I do one simple thing. It’s called UNFRIEND.
4. Be sensitive
You may love the holiday spirit but remember, that for some, holidays are real triggers for depression or anxiety. Not everybody has happy holiday memories or a rosy family structure. Some folks experience serious FOMO during the holidays. Sure, you want to share your joy with the world, but be generous beyond posting about your bliss online. Consider reaching out to that lonely friend during the holidays – extending an invitation to join you IRL.
5. Set boundaries
The world has changed. We now have a president who wakes up and tweets. We can’t expect a social-media-free holiday season. For the teens in your life, assume, “’Tis the season to be Snapping.” However, you can set up off-limits zones or times of the day. We keep a holiday basket in the middle of our dining room table and (with advance warning) collect the iPhones and get out a good old-fashioned board or card game. Do have a family conversation about social media usage before the big day and set parameters that everybody agrees upon.
6. Don’t Drink and Tweet
Finally, and this may be the most important rule: Don’t drink and post online. What happens on social media stays on social media. Two drinks in, I suggest putting away the phone.
And with that, have yourself a merry little Christmas! Here’s hoping your heart is light, and while social media may not be out of sight, at least it’s under control.