Our lives have changed drastically with the advent of modern technology. Many everyday things that we don't even pay attention to have radically changed, making the world unrecognizable to those who lived just a decade ago.
Christmas has been no exception; technology has changed every aspect of it. Technology has changed what we do in the lead up to the holiday, as well as on the day itself. Some would say these changes are for the better, while others would say they are leading to a loss of tradition. Whatever your point of view, there is no escaping the fact that things are changing.
Here are just a few of the ways in which technology has changed Christmas.
There have always been two types of Christmas shoppers. The first one does his shopping well in advance. This allows him to relax as the big day approaches. The second one puts it off until the last minute, often scrambling around on Christmas Eve trying to find the right gifts for their loved ones.
Technology has created a third type of Christmas shopper. Those who do everything online, which allows them to stay at home and avoid the hustle and bustle of high streets and manic shopping malls.
Online shopping, and now mobile shopping, allows us to shop wherever we are, 24 hours a day. We can do it at our convenience, and we don't have to fight for space in crowded department stores. Even food can be delivered now and at a reserved time, so we don't have to worry about storing large quantities of food.
It's not just the shopping itself that has moved online, but also the technology to improve the way Christmas promotional offers are delivered to consumers. An avalanche of promotional emails offering discounts and holiday merchandise bombard consumers on a daily basis.
With the majority of adults now owning smartphones, this means that these messages can be delivered to the pockets of millions of consumers, wherever they are and whatever they are doing. In the past, such a thing could never have been thought of. Online promotions exist in almost every sector, making it difficult for smaller brands and niche companies to stand out. It's very difficult to break through the crowd.
It's not just how we buy gifts that has changed. Some of the top gifts of the holiday season are technology products. Whether it's smartphones, tablets, laptops, wireless headphones, fitness trackers, or any other device stuffed to the brim with silicon chips. Traditional gifts have taken a back seat.
Smart speakers, wireless headphones, retro consoles and drones are expected to be the most popular gifts this Christmas.
Alongside stores, for whom the last two months of the year are the most important and profitable part of the calendar, postal services and couriers are also seeing a surge in demand. Not as much as they have in the past, however.
Sending gifts, letters and cards has been a tradition for hundreds of years. Letters and postcards were the only practical way to send wishes to loved ones living far away. But technology has changed all that. Social networking sites like Facebook and services like Skype have made it possible to communicate with friends and family in ways that were not possible before.
Instead of a small message written on a piece of paper, we can now see each other in high definition and have a live conversation as if we were standing next to each other. With people spending 3 billion minutes on Skype calls every day, it's clear that these services help us feel closer to each other. Modern technology brings us closer together during the holiday season.
Technology has changed our lives a lot over the past few decades, and Christmas is no exception. From what we buy to how we do it, technology has made the holiday season more comfortable and helped us get closer to our loved ones.