It’s that wonderful time of year for most of us where we wrap up warm, jump in the car and skate our way to see our families – one of the only times in the year that it happens. Which for about 2 hours is a joy, maybe a drink or some food and stories about what’s happened in the past 12 months since the last get together.
Doesn’t sound like much fun? Fear not! Technology can be your escape, and now that a large proportion of us have smartphones to access it by, fear no more – your Christmas can be as ‘intertaining’ as you want to make it.
1) Instant messenger. Whether your IM of choice is MSN, Skype, Yahoo or anything else – the chances are your friends are in a similar boat to you and will have found a way to get online. Why not chat to them? Why not download your favourite IM as an app – then you won’t even need to get up from the sofa! Even if dinner becomes painfully long, you can sneak a quick chat at the table.
2) Online Videos. Again, not just isolated to the web these days, why not escpae the tedium of repeats on the TV by finding some videos online? Personal favourites of mine which I will be using to some lengths this year include Simon’s Cat and Snatch Wars but I’m sure you have your own ideas of what to look for.
3) Online games. Didn’t get the PlayStation or XBox you wanted this Christmas? For some this would have been the escape that they wanted, however without it suddenly you’ve got to look interested with your new jumper or book. Why not try Mousebreaker where you can also download games to your iPhone? My personal favourite is Blast Billiards which is their flagship effort, but there are so many to choose from.
4) Twitter. You won’t be alone. You really won’t. Twitter is so far down the line that everybody is going to be online. Why not try a bit of escapism, start tweeting! Alternatively why not take advantage of sleepy dad in his chair and post it to TwitPic?
5) Facebook. What can’t you do on Facebook? Personally I’ll be updating my status every five minutes to say what I really wanted to say around the dinner table. That said, be careful if you are friends with your parents on it.
6) Your favourite blog. I’m sure there’ll be plenty to be said, even in this period of quiet so just keep pressing refresh until the next post comes online. Forget using Twitter to keep updated though, you’ll be missing the fun of the refresh.
7) Elf Yourself. Elf Yourself is the seasonal website to play with. It will certainly stop converstions and as you struggle to get photos taken of your family it will also eat up valuable conversational time and give you the chance to have a laugh at every member of your family.
8) Buy a Wii. Quite simply, this could save your Christmas. Everyone joins in, it’s a giggle and it is quite fun to do as well. The only trouble is, you then have no escape and if you’ve eaten a lot, you may get all sorts of digestion problems
9) Track Santa. I’m still not quite sure how this works, but you can now track Santa with the help of Google Earth and Norad Santa. It’s entertaining, it’ll help you learn about the world and it will distract you for hours as you go to street view, distract yourself looking for the pyramids or try to find Wally somewhere in the world.
And for the ultimate last resort…
10) Work. Get your latest work online using one of those great collaboration tools out there. After all, I never said that this was a great list, but you can even do your work online. Although even I have to admit that some family pains are worth it.
Time to down tools and enjoy the best of the season’s enjoyment. Happy Holidays everyone!