As the festive season draws closer, you may be looking forward to some well-deserved time off of work, especially with the knowledge that your children will also be home. This could also be an ideal time to make plans with other family members and friends, especially those who live further afield.
However, some people may feel like their plans are jeopardized by the use of cell phones, video games, television, and other forms of technology. While these are usually part of normal life, it can sometimes be good to spend time together without screens getting in the way.
Tech-Free Gifts for the Whole Family
You could take this idea even further by incorporating it into the decisions you make regarding gifts for those present. While it may be fairly simple to choose gifts for adults in the family, you may find it more of a struggle to find toys and games for children that do not require an electrical outlet or copious amounts of batteries. Thankfully, Wicked Uncle has a wide array of toys that can be used without irritating sounds or any form of electrical connection. This allows children to enhance their own imagination or even learn new skills. Plus, without the use of a screen, it may help you to engage more with the younger members of your Christmas party.
Some of our favourite tech-free gifts and activities include:
- jigsaw puzzles
- board games
- craft projects, models, or Lego
- outdoor activities such as skating, skiing and sledding
Perhaps one family gift each year can be a new board game or puzzle for everyone to enjoy together. Even preschoolers can enjoy board games. If not everyone in the family likes board games, look for 2-player board games that offer one-on-one chances to spend time with a child (or grandparent or uncle). If you have a spare table on which to leave the puzzle, people can come and go as they work on it. You could also plan to listen to a favourite audiobook while doing puzzles or crafts together.
Those Holiday TV Shows
Many families enjoy catching up with their favourite holiday television shows while eating their main meal. Although this can often be a fun experience, there are a number of negative factors that might make you want to rethink having the TV on during your Christmas meal. One of the most obvious of these could be that getting engrossed in a television program can inhibit your ability to engage in conversation with each other.
While you may be spending time together in the same room, you may not be actively listening and responding, or making the most of your companionship. Likewise, television during a meal can increase the likelihood of overeating, leading to indigestion or feeling generally unwell. Therefore, consider keeping the TV off during your Christmas celebrations.
Discuss the Holiday Plans with Your Kids
One way that you may be able to get everyone in the family to adhere to the plan can be through having open communication about the rules and guidelines of your tech-free Christmas. The use of technology may be more important for older children and teens who wish to keep in touch with their friends. Due to this, you could set time limits, or hours of the day, where they can use their devices freely. This could help reduce the backlash you may receive if you try to eliminate different forms of tech entirely.
Set a positive tone for your tech-free Christmas by planning a family holiday bucket list. You may want to make a list of nearby Christmas events or attractions, such as light displays, skating times, or other fun, family-friendly activities. Find out what sorts of things your kids want to do over the vacation. Consider planning activities with close friends or extended family. Teens may be more willing to put down their phones and join a board game if their besties or cousins are doing the same thing.
Talk about family traditions with your kids too. Do you go caroling every year? Volunteer or visit shut-ins? Make a gingerbread village? You may be surprised at what traditions mean the most to them. Or maybe they want to try a new tradition. If there were significant changes in your family in the last year, like a move or the loss of a family member, it might be a good time to start some new traditions.
Many parents hope for a Christmas where the whole family comes together without distraction. However, going completely tech-free may not be a possibility or even a well-received idea. By discussing your ideas with your family beforehand, and reaching a compromise, you may be able to spend more quality time together.