Technology vs. Tinsel

Holiday season brings question of limits to electronics at home


Claire Kyllonen

Thanks to technology advances, Santa might email presents in the future instead of delivering face-to-face.

by Claire Kyllonen, Assistant Editor

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The twinkling of holiday lights. Smells of homemade cookies. Ring-ting-tingling of Twitter notifications—wait. Twitter?

Thanks to the rise of the technology takeover, specifically the smartphone, social media may become a norm during the holidays. Technology in itself is now more a part of people’s lives than it ever has been. Communication, learning, even self esteem, can now be linked back to technology. For teens, that is usually done through social media.

For some, this ‘technological invasion’ is unwelcome. Technology can be seen as a distraction away from time that should be spent with family in face-to-face interaction. Most people, when given the chance, tend to choose their smartphone for severalĀ reasons:

Social networking: Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc., these days friends can keep tabs on each other all hours of the day. The question lies in where to draw the line.

Fill downtime: While social media is definitely used, games, texting, and email are other ways for people to exercise their thumbs while sitting in an airport or waiting in line at the DMV. It’s gotten to where it’s uncomfortable to not look like you have something that you’re completely immersed in. While it’s nice to play an online game once in a while, if you don’t look up and experience the world around, it might go right past, taking the experience with it.

This is why several families choose to put away their technology during the holidays

However, technology for some families is crucial during the holidays for several reasons:

Long distance: Not all families get to be together during the holiday season. Someone might be serving a tour in Iraq or taking part in a crucial business meeting in England. Whatever the reason, technology enables these families to bring them at least a little closer, even it it just means hearing their voice or watching them FaceTime while they open a gift.

Gift Shopping: While some argue that going and choosing a gift in person makes it more meaningful, some families know exactly what their fellow members want; they just lack the location or the time to pick it up. Thanks to online stores like, gifts for the whole family can be ordered within an hour, saving both time and money for both parties.

When pros and cons are weighed, it’s safe to say that technology is needed for some aspects of the holidays. It just comes down to knowing where to draw the line.

Maybe the next time boredom strikes, instead of reaching for the nearest smartphone, look up and observe the bustling world as it celebrates the holiday season. It only comes once a year after all.