The holiday season has just begun, and already social media platforms have made my holiday so much easier. Most years I take social media for granted since it has been around since I have been old enough to buy my own gifts. This year, I really want to take the time to thank social media for saving me time and reducing my stress levels during the holiday season, so I have more time to spend with my family and friends. These are five ways that social media has already improved my holiday, and if you aren’t taking advantage of these social media advantages, you should!
- Organizing Secret Santa: Have you ever picked names for secret Santa out of a hat? Some people accidentally pick their own names out of the hat, destroying the flow of the process and causing confusion. Others even forget who they picked, resulting in everyone having to pick again. I cannot even remember the last time I picked Secret Santa names out of a hat, and I would like to keep it that way. My friends and I use a website called drawnames.com. This social media platform enables us to put all of our names into a “hat,” place restrictions on people drawing themselves or their significant others, and send gift lists to each other anonymously. My favorite feature is it even reminds me when my Secret Santa exchange is and who the name I drew was, so I can make sure I will not be the person who forgets to buy a gift.
- Finding recipes: There is so much cooking to be done over the holidays. My friends are always looking to organize potlucks and holiday parties, and my family is always asking me to bake something to bring to our gatherings. Sometimes I look at the holiday recipe page on Pinterest, where I can easily read the comments to see if people liked the recipe and how long the creation took the prepare. More often though, I look to my friends on Facebook or Instagram who post pictures of food, then ask them for the recipes to the picture they posted. Recently, my aunt posted a picture of her apple pie, so this might be the next recipe I ask for! Sharing recipes over the holidays is so much easier with social media, and it is a great excuse to connect with friends or family that you have not spoken to in a while.
- Saving money: Do you ever hate all of the advertisements you see on social media platforms? Or all of the
emails you get about store discounts? You should not hate either during the holidays. Targeted advertisements show me when the item I have been tracking for a week goes on sale, and those “annoying” emails remind me about a sale going on at my mom’s favorite store, so I can get her the item she wanted (now in my price range!). You should never buy anything full price during the holiday season, and social media will help you achieve this if you just listen.
- Gathering gift ideas: You do not need to spoil your gift ideas by asking people if they already have something or to annoy them by begging you to give them a list of the items they want. Looking at pictures on social media platforms can remind you if someone likes to wear necklaces or earrings, or if they already have the shirt you planned on buying them. Many companies are even developing social media-like features on their website where they encourage users to make a “Wishlist.” This Wishlist can then be shared with people who are buying them presents, resulting in an easy buying process for the buyer. For less material gifts, I go Pinterest for gift ideas since Pinterest always has step by step instructions on how to make unique and meaningful crafts.
- Spreading holiday cheer: Most importantly, social media is good for simply spreading love around the holidays. Many people use this time of year to post pictures of their family and give thanks for all of the good things in their lives, ultimately spreading happiness and encouraging others to follow suit. We saw this trend on Thanksgiving, particularly on Instagram with streams of people posting pictures with their families or significant others. I had my family take a picture of me setting my Thanksgiving table to send to a friend who lives in Italy, so she could feel like she was experiencing our holiday with us! Being so connected makes the holiday even more special and enables us to document our experience to remember for years to come. (That’s how we can justify having multiple iPhones on our Thanksgiving table.)
If you are against using social media, or feel that it has a negative impact on society, I think you should consider giving social media a chance during the holidays. Social media can take stress out of the holidays and show the good that still exists in society as people come together to spread joy, faith, and hope. Happy holidays everyone! The end of the semester is near.