The holiday spirit is officially in full swing, and with that comes all of the instagrammable worthy moments that stores wait for all year around. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard to resist a cute picture of you and your bestie at your favorite cafe that has been magically transformed into a winter wonderland by paper snowflakes. However, despite all of the fun photo worthy moments that this month holds, December has undoubtedly become a tech trap, one in which the wrong reasons to be checking your devices might outweigh the right ones. Whether you’re struggling to stay out of your emails for the holidays, or want to post pictures of your new scarf on Facebook, what are some DOs and DON’Ts for screens during the holidays, and how can we use this month to recharge and make time for what matters most?
DO: Watch holiday movies!
There is only one right way to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and that is during the month of December with a cup of hot chocolate in hand! Of course, watching a holiday movie is about more than just spending a couple of hours in front of a screen in your den; taking the time to sit with those you love and be mesmerized by a feel-good classic film is what the holiday season is all about. Indeed, this simple tradition is the perfect break from any busy schedule, giving you a chance to sit back and relax while still taking part in the holiday cheer!
DON’T: Update your social media with updates every hour
It’s hard to enjoy quality time with your family when you’re constantly concerned with the perfect sticker to add to your instagram story, or how many people have viewed your snapchat updates. Certainly, social media is great for staying connected with those that can’t be home for the holidays, however it is also the primary culprit for distracting people from the present. If you’re showing off your meal via instagram, or you’re live tweeting your entire dinner conversation, are you really enjoying the time with those sitting in the same room as you? Maybe try unplugging for a couple days and savouring the moment that is happening in real time, not through a screen.
DO: Take some family pictures
While it is definitely not necessary to post photo updates of your celebrations and festivities in real time, there is nothing wrong with taking pictures of your family celebrating together during the holidays. Especially with everyone’s busy lives and hectic schedules, how often does everyone get to be under one roof and in one place at the same time? Take advantage of the moment! Snap pictures of family you’ve only spoken to through Skype for the last year, or get a group shot with everyone in their holiday best! It’s ok to capture memories through a screen, as long as it’s not taking away from the present moment you’re in.
DON’T: Make an unboxing video with all of your holiday gifts
Gift giving during the holidays is a nice way to tell those around you that you’re thankful for them, or maybe something in the store caught your eye that you thought would bring a smile to their face. Therefore, there is no reason to show off this personal moment to the rest of the world. Not to mention holiday gift giving is about the gesture, not what’s inside the box. Remember, it is okay to not share every new addition in your life with your ‘followers’! Let this moment be something special between you and one person who wanted to do something nice for someone they care about, and not something to be shared with 600 of your closest friends.
DO: Send holiday emails to friends and colleagues!
Whether it’s a premade holiday e-card, or a personal letter, email is a powerful tool to spread the holiday spirit. Letting people know that you’re thinking of them, and wishing them a happy and healthy season is exactly what this time of the year is all about! You never know how much hearing from a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while could make someone’s day. So use this technology to spread the love during the holidays, not take away from it.
DON’T: Worry with work emails
We’ve all seen those movies where the protagonist is too distracted by work to visit home for the holidays, and misses out on key family moments that can’t ever be recreated. Do you really want that to be you? In other words, why not take this time to put work on hold in order to make time for what really matters? Perhaps silencing your emails for a couple of hours (or days) would be a good strategy to ensure you can disconnect without the constant *ping* coming from your pocket. Remember, if you’re sending work emails, that means someone is responding, which is taking away from their holiday time too. Indeed, by waiting until after the festivities to plug back in, you’re not only giving yourself and everyone around you a recharge, but you’re gaining a new batch of holiday memories to hold on to.
Technology is a powerful tool, and one that should add to you holiday experience, not take away from it. Remember to use your tech tools wisely as a way to recharge and make time for what really matters. The holidays only come once a year, so make sure to savour every moment (and not through a screen).
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