'Tis the season for future-gazing... See how banner ads are getting a social makeover. Learn which social network is tops for business, what brands topped YouTube's 2013 charts, what video put the 'Net in holiday mode, and how Twitter and Instagram plan to beat back Snapchat. Skim for some social sunshine.

We give you Instagram Direct! Last week Instagram teased us with the promise of a big reveal. This just in: the social photo site's launched Instagram Direct, which lets you privately send photos and videos to family or friends. Unlike Snapchat, those pics won't disappear, though. Access the feature with the brand-new icon in the top-right corner of your feed; there, you'll find a spankin' new inbox. To share an image/video with specific people, simply click on "Direct":

Real-time giving. Airline WestJet scored plenty of local—and digital—love with its holiday execution. At a machine for scanning boarding passes at the airport, a digital Santa asked departing families what they wanted for Christmas. Then the WestJet team hustled to satisfy some of those wishes before passengers arrived at their destinations, where a branded blue Santa helped distribute the prettily wrapped presents. With over 15 million views and counting for the video, we're sure those families—and WestJet—are having a happy holiday:

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image of Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is a social media strategist, copywriter, and journalist based in Paris. A Bay Area native and lover of vending machine candies, she co-founded AdVerveBlog.com and is a frequent guest on marketing podcast The Beancast. You can follow her on Twitter at @luckthelady.