At this time of year it is commonplace for us to reflect on times gone by.   Here at the Make Me Local office we’ve been evoking our own childhood memories of the festive season, which for the majority of us, was pre the digital revolution.  We have been remembering what Christmas used to be like before we all got a serious case of FOMO (that’s a ‘fear of missing out’ for those still catching up) while scrolling through our Facebook feeds, and before we were able to do all our Christmas shopping at the touch of a button.  Here are some of our favourite memories of how times have changed…

Christmas shopping

Gone are the days that we had to make multiple trips into town to get Dad his obligatory pair of socks or queue up at the tills with bags of shopping in tow to ensure we’ve got the latest craze toy for the children.  Online shopping now enables us to do the majority (if not all) of our shopping on our phone within a few clicks.  We no longer need to order clothes by filling out catalogue forms and posting them in the mail (with a cheque), we can now order online and receive them the next day.    We have also eliminated the need to visit HMV to get the hottest new album on an actual physical CD or cassette tape, because now we can download it on iTunes in ten seconds.  If a shop sells out of a toy, there’s no need to drive miles around all the local towns to find it in stock, we can now simply find a store with plenty of stock at the click of a button.   Plus, thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever (some might even say, too easy) to find gifts you want at a competitive price.

Preparing for and meeting Santa

Going to see Father Christmas is a much-anticipated event for most families and therefore there can be a bit of pressure associated with getting it right.  There are so many options now regarding where to see Santa, and if you want to stand half a chance of seeing him on a weekend in December you have to make sure you book the minute the tickets become available – which can be as early as August, yes you read that correctly… August!  The experience often includes animatronics, arts and crafts, making reindeer food, meeting elves, as well as meeting the big guy himself.   It’s definitely a world away from queuing up at your local department store for a rushed cuddle on Santa’s lap to request your most wanted gift before heading out with a small but treasured souvenir.  With so many people reviewing their experiences online the competition to host the best Santa experience means that stores are continually upping their game.

It’s not just the Santa experience that’s cranked up a gear with the digital age, most families are now frequented by an Elf on the Shelf and take much pleasure in posting their Elf’s daily cheeky antics on social media.  We can now even track Santa’s Christmas Eve ride online.  Kiddies can keep tabs on Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve through a bespoke website, Google Earth and Maps, Twitter updates, Facebook messages, YouTube videos and Flickr photos.

We no longer open advent calendars to reveal a glittery festive scene.  We now countdown to the big day by opening doors with chocolate, toys, make-up and other such goodies behind.  The Make Me Local team have enjoyed a Gin & Tonic every night in the run up to Christmas courtesy of the office advent fairy.

Celebrations and entertainment

The annual purchase of the Radio Times is now more of a tradition rather than a necessity in most households as we no longer have to make sure we watch our favourite TV shows live when they air.  Which meant the whole family had to crowd onto the couch to watch together, because there was no Netflix or ‘catch up’ to watch it later date.  If we missed it, we couldn’t go online to get the recap.  We had to rely on our friends to remember every single important detail.  To make it worse, we had to watch one episode at a time, we couldn’t binge watch on Netflix!

We wrote cards by hand rather than sending an e-card.  We Played board games and cards rather than jumping around the living room in a virtual reality and we had to get our photos developed at the shop to share with friends in a physical album.  In person.  With no filter.  There were no digital cameras that let you check your selfies right after taking them.  And there was no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to share photos instantly.

Food & Drink

The one thing that has pretty much remained constant is our ability to consume food and drink in abundance before, during and after the big day.  Many of us still eat Turkey with all the trimmings, enjoy a flaming Christmas Pudding and buy far too many loaves of bread ‘just in case’.  The only real difference…we buy it all online and it is delivered to our door at our convenience!

Merry Christmas!