Last winter, while waiting for a delivery, I offered to give the store directions to my house. They politely declined by saying: "that's ok, our drivers have GPS." Duh.
They say you start to get old when you have trouble adapting to new technology so I guess I have arrived because I find myself commenting more and more on how things used to be. I used to give people verbal directions to my house all the time but now refrain from doing so for fear of sounding....well, like an old person.
Here's another example of how things have changed: I always looked forward to writing Christmas cards around this time of year and would always send out between 40 and 50 to friends and relatives all over the world. As a result, we always received tons of cards back which provided a holiday tradition that goes back to the first year we were married; when the tree comes down we read all the cards out loud, one by one and share a memory or anecdote about the sender. With family living far away, this was always a bitter-sweet moment of connection, replaced now by the immediate gratification of social networking.
With twitter and facebook, skype and the convenience (not to mention the monitary savings) of e-cards, our old traditions are starting to change drastically. As a result we have received a mere seven cards so far this year. I probably should only admit to five, since one was from our newspaper delivery man and another from our dog's vet! I fully expect to receive Jacquie Lawson e-cards even from them next year.
And the anticipation of going Christmas shopping? Gone the way of the Dodo bird. Walking through stores to get ideas, checking and comparing with other stores, perhaps finding the ideal book for a person, getting them what you think they want, used to be fun and even exhilerating. Of course, you come home exhausted and somewhat cranky after a few hours of that, but it's all worth it if you find the right gifts. "Oh, you still do that?" asked a friend recently. "I do all my shopping on-line."
I concede that it may be more convenient to browse on the Internet but surely it's not nearly as much fun as shopping the old-fashioned way. I know that makes me sound ancient but there you are. I still like to anticipate what I might see in a real store and I like to touch and feel and check out the colours and I love the satisfaction of suddenly finding that perfect something that I know is really wanted by the person on my list and then bringing it home like a secret treasure. Although there, too, the influence of technology is vast. Remember when a nice holiday photo in a frame made a lovely gift? Now you can give grandma 200 photos in an electronic frame she can watch over and over like a bad sitcom. Should I give a book or simply download ten onto a Kindle/Kobi? Does anyone even remember how much pleasure we used to get from giving or receiving a simple sweater or scarf? Not many do.
I think this is the last Christmas where old traditions that my husband and I have built up over nearly three decades of marriage will prevail. Next year I will try to be more in tune with the times. I will send out e-cards, give Kiva gift cards to everyone and then serve a free range turkey with bio rice ad organically grown vegetables. But I will secretly treasure the way things used to be.
Happy holidays to everyone and may you put 2011 to good use!