Here are 7 digital tools to help this holiday season. Whether you’re preparing for a Thanksgiving celebration this week or looking forward to quality time with friends and family over the coming holiday season, we all have one thing in common: trying to strike the right balance of technology use.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our devices when we should be savoring face-to-face interaction, particularly with those we haven’t seen in some time. Instead, we so often spend our down time scrolling social media, responding to text messages, and following daily updates on our diversion of choice, whether it be news, sports, or entertainment.
What if we rethought the way we used technology, though? Can we leverage the extra efficiency and productivity it delivers while still being respectful of those around us? CMIT Solutions believes it’s possible, and we’re here to help with 7 tips to make the coming holidays more enjoyable.
1. Use technology to make the meal taste better.
Whether you’re planning a massive feast or just bringing a side, don’t discount the role that tech can play in old-fashioned cooking. Recipe repositories like BigOven and Tasty house thousands of variations you can cook quickly and easily, while Paprika App included embedded timers within the recipe. Pepperplate can scale your recipes to the size of your specific guest list, while Clear+ can help with shopping and planning.
2. Get creative with the turkey.
Ever heard of a turkey cannon infusion roaster? It can speed up the cooking and crisping process while eliminating dryness. Or try an oil-free air fryer, which uses convection and infrared heat to deliver a cleaner, healthier deep fry. Pair a digital thermometer with your smartphone to monitor the turkey’s internal temperature, and don’t forget to make slicing the turkey a breeze with a precise electric carving knife.
3. Set the mood with music.
Whether it’s with an old-fashioned record player or newer streaming technology, nothing says family gathering like appropriate mood music. Use Spotify’s Turkey Timer playlist, which allows you to enter your bird’s weight and a genre and will play music for the length of the cooking time. If kids are around, pre-load a family-friendly playlist on a DJ app like Party Mixer. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, get the teens and twenty-somethings in your life involved by asking them to play some of the favorite new hits (clean versions only, thank you).
4. Include your friends and family who can’t be in the same place.
In the old days, Thanksgiving afternoon was often spent on the phone with friends and family in other parts of the world. Now, thanks to the proliferation of easy, free video streaming apps like Skype and FaceTime, anyone anywhere can have a place at the table for long as we want. Dialing in that relative who couldn’t make the big event can go a long way to making them feel included.
5. Keep the conversation civil (and fun).
We all know how heated holiday discussions can get. If you sense a digression happening, redirect everyone by using apps like The Conversation Starter or old-fashioned conversational tricks like icebreaker questions and either/or scenarios. that generate the either/or for you.
6. Make digestion an interactive sport.
Instead of just collapsing onto the couch after the big meal, queue up free online yoga sessions or stretching routines on YouTube or other fitness apps to get everyone in the game together. If the weather’s nice, take a walk around the neighborhood or play a game in the backyard. Which leads us to the ultimate holiday tip…
7. Take a concerted break from technology.
Whether it’s for a full day or just a few hours, don’t be afraid to take a true break from your phone, laptop, or other device. Studies show that doing so can improve your health, enhance your sleep, and amplify laughter and joy. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming, a little Thanksgiving respite from screen time may be just what the digital doctor ordered. As New York Times columnist David Leonhardt said about the subject, the whole point is to “slow down and stop obsessing about the immediate… And to take a few minutes to give thanks, which is a whole lot easier when you aren’t staring into a screen.”
This Thanksgiving, let’s rethink our relationship to technology. Instead of letting it dominate our day, let’s use the best parts of the digital age to make the holiday even more meaningful. Hopefully that will create more space to give thanks for the friends beside us, the food before us, and the love between us. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at CMIT Solutions!