How to Keep Tech From Taking Over Your Holiday
Do you want to make the holidays about family time? About reconnecting with loved ones? About enjoying the sight of the kiddies with their new playthings? For many of us, that means turning our eyes away from whatever screen we have in hand, and looking up at the people around us. Here are a few suggestions for less tech and more human interaction for your holidays.
After the presents are opened and everyone has a new gadget they want to try out may not be the best time to try these suggestions. But you can give them a try up until the moment when the wrapping paper starts flying. After that, the whole family may be seriously involved in a game on the Wii U you miraculously managed to score.
Snow Family by mimsmithfaro via Flickr
One way to make sure you are interacting with people and not things is to set times for "thing interaction." Pick a couple of times a day when you can check email, take your turn in Words with Friends, and upload a photo or two to Instagram. The rest of the time, put your devices on silent. Better yet, leave them in another room where they won't tempt you with their shiny shiny screens.
Declare an email free week. Don't check it even at set times of the day. Notify everyone that you won't be responding to email for a week and stick to it!
No mobile devices at the dinner table. Really, with all that food, who has room to perch a smart phone next to their plate anyway? Maybe you could make conversation instead.
There are plenty of things to do outside the house that can disconnect you from your tech-bound life and connect you to the people in your life. Go for a drive to look at holiday decorations. Take in the city light show. Build a snowman. Go to a performance of "The Messiah." Take plates of cookies to the neighbors.
What can you do inside the house if you aren't on Facebook all day? Here are a few ideas. Observe the family traditions. Tell the family stories. Play Clue with the kids. Look at Grandma's photo albums. You're starting to get the idea – what suggestions could you add?
In many ways, modern life is about interacting with the technology that runs our work and our recreation. For the holidays, why not try remembering how things were before modern life and its "always connected" mentality took us over. Why not take a few minutes to sit with someone on your lap and watch the birds empty the bird feeder outside the window instead?