How the Internet Stole Christmas

There's a large amount of material on the web debating how the Internet has impacted on the way we read. We may be buying just as many books as we did ten years ago (perhaps even more), but the growing popularity of e-Books means we're reading more and more from Kindles and i-Pods.

Most writing blogs acknowledge the impact the Internet has on books, even though we haven't all made up our minds if this influence is a good thing or a negative one. One thing we can all concur is that our reading habits is not the only thing being influenced by the Internet.The past few years have seen the development of new holiday traditions in many homes.

Is the Internet making the holidays better

Spending time with family is, of course the ultimate holiday goal for most of us. Thanksgiving with an abundance of food would still be lacking if family members weren't there. However, we're allowing access to the Internet to make it almost okay to be absent from loved ones. One can easily get a medium-priced laptop with a webcam as standard. Families on separate sides of the globe can virtually 'come together' in one room by just the click of a button. While we're not eating together any more (and some may say this is a good thing) the Internet allows us to 'meet', 'talk' and 'spend time together'. We reveal only as much as we want to. We can pull on a tee-shirt while wearing pyjama bottoms, but no one would be the wiser on the other side of the web cam. After twenty minutes (or less) we can click that button, sign out, and go check who's replied to our recent Facebook profile update. We've done the family time. There's no one hanging around to bother us.

The Internet does allow us to have greener holidays

We've almost started a new Christmas tradition in our family. We aim to have greener Christmases, so we never have a real tree. We've invested in a fantastic artificial Christmas tree, which we re-wrap carefully after use each year and store away in our loft (attic). Because most people we know are now latched onto the Internet for dear life, (literally) we send most of our Christmas greetings as e-Cards. The Internet has so impacted on our holidays that the e-mails we send out to friends and family during this time actually makes us feel like we've made an effort to communicate. But is this really communication?

Christmas used to be about people dropping by for a meal or presents. Now an email and an e-Card will suffice. While the Internet, by all means, has empowered us to be every where, all the time, I think it has taken away the personal touch needed to maintain close relationships. Have you noticed how we already prefer to chat with people who're thousands of miles away from us (on Facebook and Twitter) rather than the ones sitting near to us in our homes? What impact is this phenomenon going to have on our Christmas and Thanksgiving this year?

Are we all going to sit by our phones and laptops texting and updating our profiles and tweets and ignore our families? Will the Internet steal your Christmas this year?


Icy BC November 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM  

Wonderful post, Anne! The internet has really opened up the world for many..I see many advantages to have it, but I also see some disadvantages. We just have to find that middle line!

Glynis November 3, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

For me the Internet keeps me in touch with my family. We live in different countries, Canada, UK and Cyprus. Webcam/Skype is wonderful.

With regards to ebooks, I am not won over yet. I like the warmth of a book in my hand, not a machine.

DoanLegacy November 3, 2010 at 1:35 PM  

I have problem with cutting down tree at Christmas time..so I'm really glad that some people are going green on this aspect..

I love the feel of books, not e-gadget!

myletterstoemily November 3, 2010 at 1:56 PM  

i hope not. we will have a strict "no
laptops" code at our gathering. i do
worry about how much time we all
spend on them.

on the other hand, we skyped with our
precious youngest, who you know is in
brasil, last night. that was my first
Christmas present.

Anonymous November 3, 2010 at 2:48 PM  

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Anne Lyken-Garner November 3, 2010 at 2:56 PM  

Hi all. It's the positive things you mentioned (skype, keeping in touch with loved ones) that validate the widespread use of the Internet.
Getting the balance right is very tricky indeed.

Self Sagacity November 8, 2010 at 5:05 AM  

I know our household is guilty of electronic gadgets. A different view to the less personal touch with people around us: I find it's wonderful that I can find more people of the same interest even if they are across the world. There is a sense of satisfaction when you find friends with mutual interest. But I do agree with you about the internet making us less personal.

SAMUEL PARK November 9, 2010 at 5:10 AM  

I do find it fascinating that webcams make phone calls free in many cases and on top of that, allow you to see the other person, and yet they are so under utilized. Thanks for making so many good points here. Lots of food for thought, vis a vis our impact on the green world.

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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