This year has been a bumper year for seasonal social media posts announcing that if you’re under a certain age you would not remember certain items, or even traditions.
When these posts hit our feeds we all nod sagely and look nostalgically back, whilst the younger audience look on in puzzlement; what was so great about that anyway – how did you ‘live’ without the internet? Life must have been so boring!
The truth is that in a few years’ time they too will be looking back at today’s technology nostalgically!
Christmas has certainly changed because of technology but perhaps not as much as you may think – yes streaming technology has replaced CDs and DVDs, once part of many interactive board games, with consoles and VR headsets, but interestingly gaming companies are very socially aware of the value their technologies can bring to education and life experiences.
In an age where global warming and climate change makes travelling less desirable, how amazing is it that a child can use their imagination, backed by technology, to see the inside of a volcano or visit a Roman amphitheatre? The latest interactive books are just one way this is happening. Technology is enabling those learning experiences in a way that engages the child so much more than the coach trip to get them there would have done in yesteryear. It is somehow making it more real and understandable.
Many of our technologists of today will remember the excitement when board games first introduced a video to the game (think Atmosfear with the Gatekeeper) which guaranteed a restless night and lights on at bedtime time. This felt real enough at the time! These previous players are now creating virtual realities that transport you even further into lands you can only dream of!
So how has this changed families on Christmas Day? You are certainly likely to see many families donning VC headsets and interacting virtually – they’re still interacting as they did with board games; still together for Christmas but using and enjoying technology in a different way as it becomes available. Children learn using a variety of stimulus and modern technology is certainly enabling a depth of stimulus not previously available to engage and entertain.
But what else has changed in recent years?
We took a tongue in cheek look at how technology has changed our run up to Christmas. See how many points you recognise:
- Party invites are issued on social media to check on who is attending – and to poll people on what they want
- Christmas cards are sent via email with cute little videos or via an endless repeat on Facebook Messenger as people circulate the same Gif, time after time
- Gift cards are now just links in your inbox
- Music is bought online and streamed into your house
- Alexa is telling you how to roast your Turkey and mix a cocktail
- Your phone is navigating you to the works Christmas do and tracking you so the taxi company knows where to pick you up later
- Santa has sent a special video to your youngest telling him how good he has been this year, And yes, Santa miraculously knows his name and what he looks like
- The nearest you’ve got to a shop to buy presents is the Amazon App. And the present arrives pre gift-wrapped!
- Auntie Mildred in Australia will get a video call on Christmas Day using one of the millions of Apps available to do that at no charge
- And Nest, Hive or something similar is ensuring that your home is the appropriate temperature, that burglars are captured on CCTV, you can answer the door remotely to the delivery man and operate any number of devices from your phone.
- The obligatory Christmas film is probably streamed in your house – or at the very least, viewed on catch-up TV!
- And finally, let’s not forget how technology has allowed traditions to travel across continents; who ever knew the Elf on the Shelf would be so popular thanks to social media.
We are pretty sure you will be able to add many more things to this list as you go through your Christmas Day – we are using and relying on technology more and more, and the pace of change and obsolescence is escalating. Today’s technology will be tomorrow’s nostalgia – can’t wait for those posts!