Who’s ready to feast? Thanksgiving is upon us again, along with all the staples of this American holiday: roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Of course, the best part of Thanksgiving is being surrounded by the warmth of family and friends, who gather and give thanks for all that’s come and gone this year.
Most of us would rather NOT think about technology on Thanksgiving — if there’s one day to leave the smartphone tucked away, the laptop closed, and the gadgets off, this is it. Right? Turns out, technology can actually assist in bringing us together and bringing out the best of our kitchens on Thanksgiving. Below, CMIT Solutions has collected our favorite 7 ways to put tech to good use, all of which will hopefully result in a more relaxing holiday:
1. Use 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, why not take advantage of the endless apps, high-tech thermometers, and interactive menu assistants that offer instant recipes, planning platforms, cooking assistants, and even online sommeliers. Want to turn your phone into an interactive food scale? You can do it. Need help understanding the difference between dried cranberries and fresh? There’s an app for that. And with 10 dishes cooking at once, a hands-free mobile assistant can be a Thanksgiving chef’s best friend.
2. Call your parents (and grandparents) (and nieces and nephews) (and friends).
Whether you’re on the other side of the world or just across town from your loved ones, you can all still get together this Thanksgiving. Web-based video calling is easy, cheap, and everywhere — Skype, FaceTime, Gchat, you name it and (as usual) there’s an app for that. Whatever your preferred method of digital communication, don’t let a little distance keep you from telling that absent relative how much you love and miss them this Thanksgiving. BONUS TIP: You can instantly upload photos from the day with any number of social media and cloud sharing sites to share in the love.
3. No more wrestling over the remote.
In much the same way that video conferencing has brought the world a little closer, streaming TV has changed the way we access our favorite programs. No matter what the Thanksgiving tradition is in your household — the Macy’s Parade, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” classic sitcoms — rely on technology like DVR, TiVo, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more to dial up Aunt Martha’s favorite show in an instant. And if you don’t like watching TV in your family, use the big screen to let everyone display family pictures from throughout the year. Talk about a way to truly give thanks.
4. Get a jump on Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals.
Whether you’re a Black Friday aficionado who loves lining up at 12:01 AM or you’d rather let your favorite websites and apps let you find that sweet 95% off deal, technology can be your best shopping buddy this Thanksgiving. From email alerts to review apps that tell you who’s got the shortest lines and best sales, the Internet can help you get everything done — in person or online. (Just make sure the online sites and apps you’re using are legitimate and secure and that you don’t fall for any of the cyber scams that can proliferate when Internet traffic surges.)
5. Don’t knock the electric carving knife.
Although this tip doesn’t sound very tech-heavy, anyone who’s been nominated to carve up a turkey the old-fashioned way will tell you the struggle is real with a semi-sharp blade and an old serving fork. Every kitchen should be stocked with an electric carving knife that can make dinner time a breeze this Thursday, saving time and eliminating frustration at what should be a fun, family-oriented moment.
6. Help Grandma with Facebook — because you love her.
Let’s face it: our technologically disinclined relatives will always need a hand with their computer, smartphone, or digital camera. Yes, it can be excruciating to watch them try to find the power button, not to mention learning the ins and outs of their favorite social media app. But this Thanksgiving, slow down, take a deep breath, and give that tutorial — a little generosity can go a long way. You never know what kind of connection you might facilitate or what kind of thanks you’ll get in return. Isn’t that what the holiday spirit is all about?
This Thanksgiving, don’t let technology ruin your day. Instead, put the best parts of the digital age to work to make the holiday even more meaningful for your loved ones. Most of all, remember 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!