Christmas is a time for nostalgia, but it can also be a time for looking ahead to see what the future might bring.
Throughout the years, the ways we celebrate Christmas have changed with the times. Some people love the holidays, and they travel far and wide to see their loved ones during this time of year. Others hate the holidays, and they want to do all they can to escape it. Invariably, whatever your feelings about the holidays are, they typically relate to your experiences as a child. Tradition is an important part of how we celebrate the holidays, especially Christmas. Yet, the only constant in this life is change, which begs the question: How will the Christmas holiday change as time goes on? There’s no way to know for sure, but we’ve put together five good guesses about the Christmas traditions of the future, just waiting around the corner.
First, a caveat. No one ever really knows how technology and the future will evolve our society. So many stories and films in the past have tried to imagine the world we live in now, and even the ones that get close still end up very far off-the-mark. Still, what makes us humans so darn special is that we try to imagine the unbelievable will become achievable someday. So, we look at the hottest tech trends of the current day, and try to extrapolate how those might change our society. These Christmas traditions of the future vary from educated guesses to shots in the dark. Still, it’s fun to consider, so let’s see what awaits us for the Christmases of the latter half of the 21st Century.
Christmas Traditions of the Future
The current technological climate is very telling for potential Christmas traditions of the future. We have compiled a few revolutionary tech trends that we believe will eventually incorporate themselves into these Christmas traditions of the future. Will you be an early adopter?
1. Virtual Holiday Gatherings
Arguably, the largest technological breakthroughs in our society come in the realm of communication. A little more than 20 years ago, the most common form of high-tech communication came from pagers. Today, things are much different. Most people carry smartphones with them capable of both reaching any person on Earth (who also has access to technology) and answering any question we have. People with smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo, are able to use their devices to chat with each other. Cameras in our computers and phones have made the “video call” (a staple of sci-fi past) into a reality. So, if we are to assume that these advancements will continue to evolve how we communicate, what role will they play in the Christmas traditions of the future?
In the future, distance and time will no longer prevent families and friends from getting together over the holidays. Only rather than physically being near each other, virtual holiday gatherings might become the norm. It’s difficult to know exactly what form it will take, especially because it likely requires some technology not yet invented. Maybe it will be some new technology or some combination of what we already have, but it will be easier than ever to spend time with people in a virtual space. Maybe there will be holographics involved, so Grandma and Grandpa can join you for “dinner.” If this works out to be the case, families and friends separated by long distances can be together no matter what. With families growing more and more spread out, and with so many people to visit, a handful of virtual gatherings can help no one feel left out.
2. Home Assistants Host the Parties
In bygone days, the annual holiday party was a big event for families. The kids would play and open gifts, but they also get put to work serving snacks and drinks. The host or hostess of the party might end up spending all of their time making sure every guest has what they want. So much so that they don’t even get a chance to enjoy quality time with their guests. Today, this is a little easier with smart home appliances that almost seem like robotic serving staff than furniture. Smart home technology is a rapidly growing field, so it makes sense that our Christmas traditions of the future will reflect that.
This could mean that as this tech grows smarter and gets more capability, your smart home appliances could end up as the official host or hostess. The guests in the dining room running low on chips and beer? Send in a robotic serving assistant (think of, like, a “bigger” robot vacuum). Serving a multiple course meal? Your smart oven and other appliances may be able to do almost all of the work for you. Though, you may want to leave the droid servant in the kitchen, because you still want to take the credit for that “roast beast” dinner. You can even use your security system and smart speakers to keep an eye on the kids, making sure they don’t sneak into the spiked punchbowl or out of bed when they are supposed to be sleeping.
3. High-Tech Toys for Kids and Adults
The holidays are season of giving, good cheer, and peace to all our neighbors at home and abroad. Yet, the other awesome thing about the holidays are the sweet gifts we end up getting. Tech gifts are always a hit with both kids and adults. You can play with your brand new quadcopter drone, while your kids play with a Star Wars toy that uses brain waves to make “the Force” real. You can all then join together to stream some awesome Christmas music from your smart speakers or maybe play a video game together. The hot tech toys for kids and adults will definitely be a part of the Christmas traditions of the future.
Again, it’s impossible to know what tech gadgets are going to be a hit or are going to fail, hard. Yet, the innovative new technologies still to come will surely be much-desired Christmas gifts. From cars to smart devices, the best tech toys of today are all those that mix fun and functionality. You can do amazing thing with security cameras these days, but those will never be as fun as smart speakers. The former are functional, but don’t offer much in the way of “fun,” Smart speakers, however, can do important tasks and play games, songs, or even tell jokes. The best tech toys in the future are going to be those that continue that trend. If you see a new product that both serves a real function but is also extremely fun to use, grab it up.
4. Classic Entertainment On-Demand
Growing up, you probably remember gathering around the television to watch some sort of classic Christmas movie. Whether it’s an animated one like A Charlie Brown Christmas or a black-and-white classic like It’s A Wonderful Life, these stories were special. Part of what made them so special was that you could only see them once a year. Yet, once home video begat online streaming, families can gather around any number of screens at any time of the year and check out their favorite holiday special. The same thing is true with Christmas music. If you didn’t have the record, you had to wait until your favorite holiday songs came on the radio or over the speakers in the store. Today? You can stream these holiday classics all year ‘round, if you wanted. So, what does this mean for the Christmas traditions of the future?
In this case, the answer is likely that things won’t change much. In over a century since the invention of a camera capable of recording motion, the “movie” hasn’t really changed. Sure the image resolution got better and so have digital effects, but the general concept remains unchanged. What will likely change is a lack of the kind of universal culture language we have about the holidays. Today people argue about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie (and it totally is). In the future, a “Christmas” movie tradition will be whatever people choose to watch. Even today some families (including your humble correspondent’s) watch all the Star Wars films at Christmas time. This makes it a “Christmas” movie for them. With access to digital media, families will be able to keep up their Christmas watching and listening traditions, and will have the ability to make up wholly new ones.
4. What About Santa?
In the past half-century or so, there is no figure more important to Christmas than Santa Claus. (Sorry, John McClane.) Yet, the technological revolution of the past few decades means that our access to information is only going to grow. So, what is a parent to do about Santa? Will he fade away from the forefront of the Christmas season or will his legend live on? Today, it’s already difficult enough to keep the secret. If you ask digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant questions about him, you get vague answers and, sometimes, outright lies. Of course, no company wants to responsibility for busting the Santa myth for their customers’ kids.
Yet, as society changes and evolves, will Santa evolve with them or will he fade away? While this is almost impossible to know, it is safe to say that Santa Claus will persist one way or another. The legend has already been around for more than four centuries, and today’s media has no shortage of Santa Claus-themed movies. So, even if children end up being too smart to believe that a man in a magical Victorian-era sleigh can fly around the world in a single evening, they will still know who he is. Santa will live on, in one way or another, like all good mythical figures.
There’s no way to know what kind of Christmas traditions of the future await us, but it sure can be fun to speculate.
As volumes upon volumes of science-fiction shows us, people tend to fear the future. Perhaps it’s because of our mortality or just something as simple as an aversion to change. This is doubly true around the holidays, because if Christmas traditions change, people tend to feel that the holiday is ruined for them. Yet, this doesn’t have to be the case. Thanks to the constant stream of technological miracles surrounding us, we have the tools to be closer than ever before. It may not be like the holidays of your youth, but for the youths growing up now and those yet to be born, this will always be a special time of happiness and joy. Because no matter what technological advancements we benefit from, people are still people. We love our friends and our families, and any excuse to celebrate that is one worth holding on to.
What do you think? What Christmas traditions of the future are already starting to take shape in your households? Share them with us, along with your thoughts, reactions, and stories in the comments below. Don’t forget to share the article on social media if you enjoyed it, so your friends can get in on the conversation.
Related Article: Five Ugly Christmas Sweaters to Stand Out from the Pack