Out of a desire to say "hi" to old friends, reconnect with family members, or perhaps get a moment away from visiting relatives, it looks like lots of people are signing into social networks this month.  Indeed, Hitwise relayed some UK-specific stats today, and the increase has been sharp enough that Facebook might top Google in traffic on Christmas.

We’ll head straight into the data so that you can head straight back to poking acquaintances.  Robin Goad reported, "As we get closer to Christmas Day visits to social networking sites have reached a new peak for the year, accounting for nearly 13.5% of all UK Internet visits.  In the last week alone there has been a huge uplift in traffic, with visits increasing by 9.7% from 14 to 21 December."

Next, Goad noted, "More than half of the traffic is being driven by Facebook.  The biggest social site in the world accounted for 57% of all visits to the social networking category in the UK last week and over the Christmas period could create history if it overtakes Google in overall market share online."

That scenario isn’t at all far-fetched, by the way; here’s a graph of what occurred last year:

It should be interesting to see how the situation turns out in 2010.  Advertisers are sure to keep a close eye on things.