We’re dreaming of a Screen-Free Christmas

screen free Christmas

11 Dec We’re dreaming of a Screen-Free Christmas

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In 2020 we spent more time online than ever before. Australia reported an 80% increase in phone usage over their first lockdown, in the UK our screen-time increased twofold and in the US nearly 75% of families said they wanted a digital detox once it was over. And, it’s not quite over! We still have to get through the holiday season and well into next year before vaccines can solve our problems.

So, after a year of excessive screen use and isolation, we’re gearing up to spend what is for many the most important time of the year, potentially away from loved ones again. We’re going to have to be even more mindful about our screen use than usual. Ideally, we would be experiencing a completely screen-free Christmas, but as many of us are away from family and friends, that might not possible. Instead, let’s focus on the best ways to connect, both digitally and in real life.

Appreciate the joys of screens to connect us…

Previously, we’ve always touted a need to log off on Christmas, to stop posting every second of your day and instead appreciate the people you are spending it with. However, with so many families physically separated, we’re advocating a very mindful screen-use this year instead. This year we have all thanked the Zoom gods at one point or another for the ability to communicate with those we can’t be with. Whether elderly or vulnerable family members, friends who live a little too far away to justify a socially-distanced walk, or even those that we haven’t seen in a while, we’ve all been able to keep up with loved ones through video calls through lockdowns. As we approach December 25th, there are plans being made up and down the country for time slots to call different sides of the family, or different friends who are spending Christmas alone this year. However, that doesn’t mean we should lock ourselves away on video call after video call for the whole day.

Tip: Really enjoy and savour your video calls with family and friends. Don’t multi-screen by scrolling on your phone while you’re on the call. Give them your 100% attention and enjoy your time with them on screen.

…but be mindful of those we are with.

You may be quarantined with your pet, the housemates that you’ve survived two lockdowns with, your family or a new bubble of those you haven’t been able to spend time with in a while. No matter how big or small your group, how familiar and irritating they may be, try to really appreciate their presence this year. Regardless of how many people you are celebrating with this year, take some time offline to really be with them. Don’t share every present/course on your Insta story, try not to stay in the mindset of working from home and check your emails, and most importantly stay away from a doom-scroll, guaranteed to ruin your mood. Talk to the people you are with: make a puzzle, play a game of charades, ask each other questions about how the year was for all of you – and celebrate.

Tip: Get everyone to put their devices away together for a specified period of time (maybe while you are eating, or opening presents, or taking a long walk together). Give yourselves the space to really enjoy and appreciate each other’s presence.

After this year, of all years, we should celebrate those we love. We’re still here, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of vaccines. So, take some time to enjoy the company of your loved ones, to bask in the annoyances and petty squabbles of the festive season, and try to switch off your phone. As much as you can, aim for a screen-free Christmas after your year online. Use your screens for life-enhancing connection, not mindless scrolling, this holiday.

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