12 Most Jolting Ways to Limit Electronic Interference this Christmas
Hark, the Harold angels tweet!
Christmas is this week, and with every year comes a new and improved version of “Well, in my day…” complaints about lost respect and traditions. I prefer a less distracted version of family get-togethers.
If you would like to have a Christmas where everyone is truly “there” when you pull the family together, here are some tips to cut down on the electronic distractions of modern society.
1. Establish expectations
Make the effort to communicate your desire for a “smartphone free” Christmas dinner (or whatever your ideal scenario is) before your family gets together. An engaged conversation requires engaged participants, and you should make your desires clear. (Also, in case you haven’t told them already, tell you teenagers that using the phone at the dinner table is never acceptable. )
2. One television — maximum
Can you tell the difference between watching a movie with the family and killing time with the television on? When in doubt, turn the d**n thing off.
I don’t like multiple televisions. (We have one television at home, but I admit, it is a large one.) Christmas is an especially inappropriate time to let multiple idiot boxes divide your clan of idiots… I mean, your loving family. If your family needs television on Christmas, force them to at least agree to watch one television together.
3. Leave ’em in the car
What do you really need to bring with you to Grandma’s house? Here are a few things you should leave in the car: Blackberry, I-Phone, Droid, Nintendo DS, Gameboy*, Leapster, PSP, i-pod, mp3 player, portable DVD player, I-Pad, Kindle, laptop, nook, GameGear, Sony Reader, Tag Junior, WikiReader, Playbook, and netbook.
*Yes, my kids still drag my old Gameboy and games around.
4. Silent mode
Vibrate mode is for cheaters. Silence your phone for the day.
5. Print some pictures
There is a certain tactile satisfaction from a professionally printed picture. Plus, pictures can be passed around through-out the evening; it is difficult to pass around your phone if you leave it in the car.
Even folks that see pictures of your children on Facebook every week will “ooh and ahh” at developed pictures of the family.
6. Kill the stereo
Do you know what makes Christmas music special? Everyone knows the melodies. It might sound strange (literally) but until the mid-twentieth century, people listened to Christmas music live. That is, if you wanted to hear Christmas music, you went to a concert, waited for carolers, or sang it yourself.
Someone in your family CAN play that dusty piano stuffed in the corner. Break out the guitar. Or maybe, just maybe, you can convince everyone to try to sing a song or two.
7. Microwaved hot cocoa sucks
Sorry, but hot chocolate made with packets of brown dust and “nuked” water just is not good enough for Christmas. Yes, I know the stove is an electronic. I don’t remember any wood-burning microwaves in the history books, though. In this case, an electric (or gas) stove top is old-fashioned enough.
Use real milk, not that 2% stuff, and well…. I like a little Irish in mine, if you know what I mean.
8. Skip the “Merry Christmas” text messages
When did we all start sending mass text messages on every holiday? If you want to wish me a Merry Christmas, do it. A card is nice. A personal visit is better. I’ll even go so far as to say using your phone to make a phone call is acceptable. Mass texts or emails feel insincere and lame.
9. Buy some candles
There is something almost magical about candles. Candles in the windows are more special than Christmas lights on the house. Candles on the dinner table create a somber mood of reflection. Candles and a warm fire in the fireplace are guaranteed to reduce the volume of your gathering. Your family will be less likely to sneak in some electronics if they notice the house is being lit with 19th century technology.
10. Limit the video camera time
Men are especially guilty of hiding behind a video camera. We would often rather “capture the moment” than be in the moment. If you want to remember this holiday, make it worth remembering. Stop hiding behind the lens and get close to people.
11. Don’t give electronics as gifts
You are not required to buy your teenage daughter the i-pad she wants. Your son will live without the latest Madden Football videogame. (Even my four-year-old son has electronics at the top of his Christmas list this year!) If you want to interact with your family on Christmas, don’t buy them more electronics to come between you and them.
12. Unplug the WIFI router
Bwahahahaaa! When your pleas for everyone to come join the game of Monopoly go ignored, there is always the nuclear option. Netflix, X-Box Live, Pandora, Email…. A long list of activities is eliminated if “the internet is out.” Unplug the router and hide the power cord.
“Hey kids, who wants to help with my new 5000 piece ‘Antartica’ puzzle?”
Featured image courtesy of hyper7pro licensed via Creative Commons.