Technology & Happiness at Christmas: What really matters.

  • 23 December 2015
  • sjanicke

The Christmas season is upon us (well, it is VERY close by now) and we are even more than usual bombarded with ads for the perfect christmas gifts. Incredible deals seem to be irresistible, we feel the time pressure of finding a last minute gift and even though we know from last year that the incredible turkey cooker or leaf blower really are only going to be taking up space in our (or our loved one's) closets, we just feel like we cannot resist. Fashion for Real People, a really cool blog by my friend Ginevra Adamoli about what to wear, cook, and do for everyday people, provides some helpful strategies on how to shop smart this Holiday season and I want to extend this post by sharing with you 4 questions to ask yourself before buying the latest gadgets to put under the christmas tree. Well, that is in case you "really" want to make someone happy this holliday season.

With the advancement in technology, buying the newest Apple iPhone or other little gadgets for our loved ones for christmas (or even ourselves) has now become common place. 
New smart phones are hitting the market every month, smart watches are slowly satisfying the early majority diffusion of innovation curve, and other wearable technologies (the fit bit being the most adopted gadget in that area already) popped like popcorn into the market this year. CNET, a well known website on technology reviews, provides a list of "16 gifts that make alomst anyone happy". The list includes drones, smart watches, virtual reality applications, computers, household electronics and other more or less useful items. Being a positive media psychologist, I wonder how these gadgets are supposed to make people happy. How do we know if a new technology will actually increase our well-being?
If you are curious please check out my guest blog post at Fashion For Real People here. 
 
Now, I want to remind us (including myself) that ultimately, giving presents for Christmas is to make a loved one happy. Maybe that entails buying something that they wished for but never would get for themselves or it is something they could really use.
 
What matters is that you give with love.
If your budget doesn’t allow for some new fancy gadget, a voucher for a home cooked meal or a letter in which you express your gratitude towards your loved one or even your first knitting attempt of a hat or scarf will be just as well received. If the relationship is real and authentic, anything that comes from your heart will be appreciated. 
 
What really matters in the Christmas season is taking time off and spending it with loved ones. In a time where smart phones are now extensions of our bodies, that means unplugging for the Holliday's, no phones on the dinner table, no laptops in the living room and just “hanging out” with friends and family. I think, this is the best gift we can give anyone. Being fully present with our loved ones. No technology distractions. Listening to their stories and sharing ours. We never know how long these moments last, so we better take them all in. Here is commercial from a german grocery store EDEKA which captures exactly that. You may shed a tear or two. I sure did, which only shows the truth behind it. 
 
If you are contemplating to buy that new phone or watch or whatever it is, just think for a second if all that you want to give is not already there: You!