Balancing Tech, Family and the Holidays

The following post is from Michelle of Mommy Misadventures:

Happy Turkey Day
source: Robert S Donovan

Advances in technology makes our computers and other gadgets indispensable tools to find what we need, when we need it. When the holidays come around, it’s even more important to remember that technology is a tool to bring our families and friends together, rather than being a slave to our technology. When it comes to technology and the holidays, balance is the key.

Planning

If you’re planning the holiday gatherings and meals, you know how hectic the months of November and December can be, with everything that needs to be planned. Need inspiration and a good way to keep all those great holiday ideas organized? There are tons of blogs and online magazines with lots of ideas. (Psst, the 101 Days of Christmas series is a great place to start!)

Collect your various ideas on a visual bookmarking application like Pinterest where you can make separate boards for each idea you have.

Once you’ve been inspired, use a note taking application to help you put together all the lists that you need to keep track of everything you need to do: food to buy, presents to buy, cleaning lists. Evernote is a very popular note taking app that includes web page clipping while fantastic “to do” apps include Remember the Milk (web, iOS, Android, Blackberry), WunderList (iOS, Windows) and WorkFlowy (web only).

Coordinate holiday event planning with other family members over email and calendar apps like Google Calendar or invite managers like Evite.

Set the Mood

When the holiday gatherings start, use your gadgets and tech toys to help set a festive mood. Create festive playlists on your iPod or iPad and hook them up to your entertainment center to play some holiday music when guests begin to arrive. Too busy doing other things to make a playlist? If you have a set top box like a Roku or Logitech Revue or maybe a game console like a PS3 or Xbox 360, you can tune in to Pandora or Last.fm‘s various holiday channels for hassle free musical entertainment.

Capture the Memories

The best camera for the job is the one you have with you, whether you’ve got the latest and greatest dSLR or just a standard camera phone from three years ago.

But also remember that what’s happening on the other side of the lens is what matters most. Memories of being part of the family fun is far more valuable than having a great photo.

Put It Away

The holidays should be a time to reconnect with each other, not be connected to your gadgets. If you’ve noticed that gadgetry has been taking more attention for than it probably should during family gatherings – like playing marathon sessions of Angry Birds (not that I, uh, know this from experience) – try instituting a “no technology” rule for the really important times during your holiday, like gathering for a meal.

How do you plan on incorporating technology in your holiday plans?

Michelle Mista is an IT professional, freelance writer and blogger. A lifelong geek, she blogs the latest in tech news, tips & tutorials at Tech Geek Girl and muses about motherhood at Mommy Misadventures. She is on the constant quest to balance life, work and geekery.
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