How Technology can help save our festive season
So, here it is. The Christmas festive season is upon us. But the Grinch has been busy this year.
As we try to understand what “Season’s Greetings, with family and friends” looks like under the shadow of a pandemic, we explore how technology is here to save the day (or, at least, bits of it).
Shops, brands and hospitality providers have had a terrible year and there are few fairy lights at the end of it. But now is our chance to do our bit to help out (with or without Rishi).
So how exactly is Tech helping us spread Christmas cheer this winter?
Well, it’s never been easier to support your local, family-run businesses, as they’re now more digital than ever. The disruption of this year has forced restaurants and bars to offer takeaways and deliveries, while local retailers have built eCommerce options in weeks, and what they are offering is as charming as it is convenient.
American Express has, for years, been promoting “support your local retailers”, even arranging promotional evenings and communications, with its Shop Small initiative in the UK
Not on the High Street (Oh, the irony) has built an entire marketplace based on not-being-the-big-players. Even a quick visit makes you start making lots of very strange, festive “awws” and “ohhs”, looking at their cute merchandise. Now, these are supported with One-Day Wonders that will make your credit card smile too.
So, when you’re thinking of Christmas shopping, put the effort in and step away from the tax-avoiding behemoths, and support a local, family-run smallholding. Their care, craft, innovation and heart are wrapped in everything they offer. It is so worth it, in 2020.
So that’s the shopping done – how on earth are we going to entertain ourselves. Zoom charades? Maybe. Festive FaceTime Quiz of the Year? Probably. And this explosion in technological connection, particularly through ALL our generations, including the most isolated and in need, has been miraculous.
We know it’s not a tinselly hug, a handheld at the back of a carol service, or a “Surprise!” friendly knock on a neighbours’ door… but it IS the next best thing. It is supporting global connections, holding warm face-to-face conversations and enabling locked-down travellers to meet. So be sure to book in some virtual mulled-wine-and-mince-pies calls with your furthest and dearest. It’s always good to talk.
And that’s just the opening chapter of the entertainment story. How about playing online whilst chatting with friends (and frenemies) on a new PlayStation 5? How about that family game night on Houseparty? Or why not combine the two and video chat with friends and family while playing Fortnite?
For those of us craving more established Christmas traditions, keep an eye out for virtual Santa meet and greets and virtual carols. If you can’t get enough of the Royal Family on Christmas Day, you can always binge-watch The Crown with your aged relatives, specifically because “It’s not like it used to be… blah, blah…”. (Forget ‘the war’, we had Captain Sir Tom and the global pandemic).
So, take heart. Technology is here to help, to facilitate, to empower. To bring light to our darkened homes, smiles to our families faces and good cheer to all men and women, wherever they may be.
Be kind. (Santa’s watching).