Only a couple of days are left until that most American of holidays, Thanksgiving, when friends and family gather to feast and give thanks for all that we are blessed with in life.
The one thing everyone agrees on this Thanksgiving? That we should at least try to take a technology break. For once, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all power down our computers, stash our smartphones until picture time, and disconnect for a day? We can dream.
But technology can actually bring us together on Thanksgiving—so long as apps, electronics, and digital tools, are deployed properly, not just wielded as a way to escape family time. We collected our 6 favorite strategies for using technology to your advantage this Thanksgiving, all of which will hopefully make for a more enjoyable holiday.
1) Call your family! We can’t all be together on Thanksgiving—so thank goodness online video conferencing apps like Skype and FaceTime are so easy to use. No matter how many time zones separate you and your loved ones, you can connect with them in a flash (and for free!) during the holidays.
2) Rely on cooking apps, timers, and other digital kitchen tools. While our grandparents may have fed a full house without so much as looking at a recipe card, today there are endless apps that offer instant recipes, planning platforms, cooking assistants, and even online sommeliers. Shoot, the iOS and Android app stores even offer options to use your smartphone as an interactive food scale or digital thermometer.
3) Use an electric carving knife—seriously. Although it might seem superfluous, anyone that’s sliced up a turkey the old-fashioned will tell you that an electric carving knife outperforms even the sharpest knife come dinner time on Thursday. This beautiful piece of handheld technology can save time, eliminate frustrations, and make the serving of the main course that much easier.
4) Watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it. Sure, we can all agree on the Macy’s Parade come Thanksgiving morning. But once the afternoon rolls around, the choices expand exponentially: three football games, classics like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” even a 600-episode The Simpsons marathon. But instead of battling for remote supremacy, rely on solutions like Netflix, Hulu, DVR, and TiVo to keep the peace and keep everyone tuned in to their favorite program. Heck, you can even put the flat screen to use by allowing everyone to take a turn displaying their favorite old family picture.
5) Help Grandma figure out Facebook. For real. It’s an inevitable fact of holiday gatherings: at least a few family members will need help figuring out how to turn on their phone, print their boarding pass, or post a photo on Facebook. Yes, it’s frustrating. But this Thanksgiving, let’s give those relatives the benefit of the doubt—and then give them a hand. Isn’t that giving spirit what the holiday is all about?
6) Do your Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) shopping online. Just can’t resist this year’s epic Black Friday deals? No, you don’t have to line up on Thanksgiving evening to claim your spot. As long as you make sure the online shopping sites and apps you’re using are legitimate and secure, you can get everything done without leaving the comfort of your coach. And hey, maybe Cyber Monday’s deals will be better this year.
This Thanksgiving, let’s focus on family, friends, and food—and when we do need to rely on technology, let’s use it in the most helpful way possible. Following some of the tips above can make the holiday smoother, resulting in more meaningful time together and more memories we’ll remember forever.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at CMIT Solutions!