This Christmas, give yourself one more thing to be happy about: a day without smartphones.
Yes, I can already hear you telling me all of the reasons why this won’t work. How can you give up your phone for an entire day, much less a day in which you might be cooking unfamiliar recipes, checking in with travelling family members, or FaceTiming loved ones who live too far away to make it to the celebration?
But if you can find a way to put down the phone, even if it’s not fully put away until all the guests have arrived and all of the dishes are on the table, you might have a more mindful—and more enjoyable—holiday experience.
As David Leonhardt explains, in The New York Times:
Many of us have a complicated relationship with our phones. We enjoy them in the moment. Yet when we reflect on all the time we spend looking at a tiny screen, we feel lousy about it. We pine for a less addictive relationship with the online world.
So let me make a suggestion for this… weekend: Turn off your phone, and keep it off for a full 24 hours. I predict you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll like it.
Leonhardt has been incorporating “Tech Shabbats” into his family’s life (essentially, Saturdays without internet), and describes them as “wonderful”—though he admits that it takes a bit of pre-planning, from scheduling with friends to printing out maps, to spend a full day offline.
Which is what I’m going to have to do if I want to spend a phone-free Christmas, because my parents and I pile into the car to visit out-of-state relatives and I’m in charge of prepping the podcast queue.
So maybe I’ll download a bunch of podcasts in advance, put my phone into aeroplane mode, and see how long I can remain in the present moment with the people around me.