Actually I don’t.
I’m just fine playing the role of The Grinch on the once proud holiday that saw families gather around and actually enjoy each other’s company.
If you’re easily offended, you should have stopped reading about two sentences back.
You may be more comfortable scrolling through your God awful Facebook feed or Instagram pics. Maybe fire up Candy Crush instead of diving into an article that is about to rip to shreds the type of gifts that will suck new souls into a black hole come December 25th.
The most common gift this Christmas will be a variety of smartphones and tablets. It’s not like we need a national holiday for an excuse to add more soul stealing screens to our homes. We find all kinds of reasons to get the latest greatest mobile devices as soon as we can get our grubby little hands on them.
I’m not worried about this black hole of Christmas harming those who are just getting an upgrade on their screen of choice. I am concerned about the new users who will be getting their first ever mobile device which acts like a window to the world, but really just closes off the world that’s closest to them.
Before I get accused of being a grumpy old curmudgeon, let me defend myself. I am kinda grumpy, but in no way do I oppose change. I like to see the status quo topple. I love technology. I spend too much time on the internet myself. I am guilty as sin of letting mobile devices distract me from the real world.
Since I know all too well how much these great tablets and phones take away from us as a people, I wanted to issue a pre-Christmas warning. That’s all.
I don’t expect to stop Apple in its tracks with this post. I doubt Amazon is trembling in their boots over my message slowing down the sales of their super cheap Kindle Fire.
What I may be able to do is save a soul or two from being sucked into the black hole of mobile computing. Even if it only delays the inevitable, at least I will have added some time to the life of those who will be able to enjoy reality a bit longer.
If you are planning on buying your first ever tablet or smartphone for yourself this holiday season, do not. You’ve somehow managed to survive this long without having your face permanently fixated on a world that should not matter very much to you. Keep up the good fight. Carry on your presence in the real world that’s right in front of your face and generated by your own view, not that of someone else.
If you’re planning on getting a time sucking device for an older relative, think long and hard about it. A tablet may actually relieve some loneliness for an older person. That’s possible.
More likely. They would just waste as much as you do on social media and stupid cat videos. Maybe a better gift would be a membership into a club of some sort. Perhaps a dance class, that will have real live human beings with which to socialize. Or maybe you think your loved one would be better off sitting around getting fat as they hit like on people’s photos they will never meet or even speak to in person.
Now for the most important group of gift recipients, the younglings who have yet to own a black hole in the form of a flat screen. Just because little Johnny down the street got an iPad at age four doesn’t mean your kid needs one. Besides, little Johnny acts like an animal in public so why have your child emulate him in any way?
There’s plenty of time for your youngster to develop an addiction to mobile devices. Why not let her enjoy the real world before she eventually gets sucked into the vortex of technology, spending her life taking staged pix, trying to get attention in every way possible on Twitter, and being dragged into one drama filled online situation after another.
If I have been unclear about what gift not to give this Christmas, let me repeat so all can understand. Giving the gift of a smart device to a new user is no gift at all. You are stealing valuable time from them. You are giving them a gateway to a world that will eclipse the one they should be focused on.
Kids with a new iPhone won’t need to ask you why the sky is blue or want to play catch. They can just Google any question they have and with millions of fun apps, who wants to play ball with dad?
Your parents now armed with a new shiny screen won’t need to share stories of the old days during holiday events. They will just fade into a digital oblivion like everyone else there. No real talk, just tapping and swiping over the red velvet cake.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Current users of these devices are already hooked. Not much hope for them (us). But why drag other loved ones into this meaningless black hole?
Gifts are supposed to make people happy.
Can you say your smart device has made you happy?
Or has it just robbed you of real time? Real relationships. And a real life.