Between decking the halls, picking a Christmas tree, Holiday gift exchanges and counting down the New Year there's no shortage of excuses to take out your phone and add to your online presence. But with all the merriment and catching up with loved ones underway perhaps our time could be best spent without a phone in hand.
At some point in the last ten years we stopped witnessing moments and started sharing every detail of our life online. Text messages that demand instant replies and even our own self-identities have become ever entangled with online social networks. As inspiring, connecting, and unifying as social media can be, I think it's high time we re-examine our use of the internet over this Holiday season.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring
— unless it needs to update it’s Facebook status
I feel the hypocrisy as I write this - I delight in creating social media content so much so it's my full time job - but I think it’s that perspective that makes me uniquely qualified to see it. To notice the number of moments interrupted by someone fishing through their bag to find a phone in attempts to snap / insta / tweet a moment that can’t be truly captured. It's simply impossible to do two things at once and so in those precious seconds when you are desperately trying to share a moment, hashtag and filter it, you’re letting the experience slip by.
This season I implore you to disconnect, put the phone away and just be present. Experience time with your friends wholly — not through a 4.5 inch screen. Embrace the fact that this time together is fleeting and revel in that. It’s okay that that joke or present opening isn’t shared with 250 of your closest friends because it’s already shared amongst those people in the room. It gets to be something so much more than disposable media. It gets to be a lived-in private memory.
Share the exclusivity of the holidays in real time and leave the smart phone at home. Pick up a Polaroid and commit to taking one photo (not ten) regardless of that silly face you're making in it. Skip the dancing elf email and spend two hours writing Holiday cards for those far away. Challenge yourself to create tangible keepsakes that when unearthed next year will carry a story that you get to tell rather than investing time in curated snaps that have a 24-hour shelf life. And lastly as you acknowledge that inadvertent desire to check you phone take heart that truly it can wait; your presence is the best gift you can ever share with those around you.