Some holiday traditions go back centuries or more. Festive parties, trees, lighting decorations, Santa Claus. One of the things people love the most about the holiday season is tradition. Well then, how has technology changed our traditions? Or has it? Perhaps some of the changes are subtle, while others are more significant. While some may have “enhanced” the traditions, undoubtedly others have “aggravated” purists.
Let’s take a look at some ways technology has impacted our holiday season.
One of the most widely adopted ways to celebrate the season is the “Holiday Card.” These announcements of the season span religions, ages etc. While many send holiday specific cards saying “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Hanukkah”, “Happy Kwanza”, others celebrate by saying “Happy New Year” or simply, “Happy Holidays”. While the messages have remained the same, the creation and delivery of those greetings have changed dramatically. An entire cottage industry of card creation sites exists. Upload photo, arrange accordingly, add your text (don’t forget the dog or cat) and hit save. Voila! You get your holiday cards delivered to your door in time for a stamp and go. Other sites actually deliver the cards electronically. This is where the purists likely have some MAJOR heartburn. A complete lack of personalization as well as limited time investment still allows people to participate in the holiday spirit but clearly is the “easy button” of holiday cards. Hey it’s the thought that counts, right?
In the past, if you couldn’t make it to Grandma’s you were out, both literally and figuratively. How dare you choose anything over Grandma or Mom??!! There are always people who cannot make it either planned or unplanned. Covid certainly changed things when people were effectively prohibited from visiting with friends and family. Technology has enabled some true face to face time, even if it’s halfway around the world. Zoom, FaceTime, Snapchat, Facebook—all have video applications allowing families to “virtually” celebrate the season together. While a virtual celebration may not replace being together in the same room or house, it potentially allows folks out of the dog house and into the family room.
Rushing to hit the mall on Black Friday?? I used to, but not so much anymore. Making a list and checking it twice??? Nah.. Just get me a gift card. Shoot, you don’t even need to pick the store anymore, Visa is accepted everywhere. But, you don’t want to get a special person a gift card now do you? Well, thankfully, that beautiful brown wrapping with the Amazon tag is a wonderful sign of the holiday, or is it? With Prime 2 day shipping, the real gift can make it on the doorstep just in time for Christmas!!! Every procrastinators dream! And we don’t have to worry about what is left on the shelf, even if it’s just an elf.
While the sight of a large man on a ladder with his pants falling slightly below the crack on his rear end is a sure sign the holidays are coming, let’s spare the plumber’s butt. I wonder how many visits to the emergency room result from unqualified adults trying desperately to outdo the Jones family down the road for the best decorations? Let us all save the emergency room for those who have a little too much eggnog and use light projectors? What an advancement for technology, or simply American ingenuity. One can now purchase a small gun looking device that projects the lights on the house versus stringing them along the gutter line. One day, you are a red and white theme, the next blue and green—Brilliant!
There are likely many more examples of how technology has changed the holiday season (cue tablet playing Christmas vacation vs. a family sitting around the fire) but let’s agree the season is still magical nonetheless.
Happy Holidays to you all, may technology enable all of your dreams!!