Smartphones are, arguably, a liability during the holiday season—they cut into family time, keep you from truly bonding with your distant once-a-year relatives, and they always ring in the middle of a holiday concert or church service or toast or something. But even though your mother might want to institute a no-phones-during-the-holidays policy (mine certainly does), I think that’s a terrible idea.
Phones are, after all, the only reason our Facebook friends know we care about them (in a general status update kind of way) over the holidays. Plus, phones can actually help keep you sane in the midst of all this holiday madness.
Here are 10 reasons to be thankful for your phone this holiday season:
It saves you from missing your flight
Thanks to TripIt, you now get to spend the next two weeks sleeping on the floor of your parents’ den and interacting with relatives you completely forgot about. Thanks, TripIt!!!
It helps you convince kids that Santa is real
This year, when your 10-year-old nephew runs around telling his younger cousins that Santa isn’t real, you have the perfect shutdown: Santa calling apps like Personalized Call from Santa.
If Santa’s not real, Billy, then why is he calling you right this second? Yeah, you better stop making your cousins cry.
It helps you order last-minute gifts
An Amazon.com e-gift card? You shouldn’t have!
It helps you cook up a storm in the kitchen
You watched all six seasons of MasterChef on your smartphone after your parents went to bed last night at 8 p.m., so you’re good. Oh, and, uh, you also have a bunch of cooking and kitchen apps on hand…just in case.
It helps you pack for the weather where you're going
You live in California, but your parents live in upstate New York? Good thing you have a super-accurate weather app/widget, because you’ve completely forgotten what a New England winter feels like.
It lets you opt-out of an awkward conversation
What do you do when your grandparents start talking about the good ol’ days or your drunk uncle tries to start a conversation about the upcoming election?
“Oh, man…I just got an important work email!”
It helps you bond with your family
When you only see your family once a year, you need all the bonding time you can get. But this year, instead of sitting around the dinner table and nodding along as your relatives tell you “how big you’ve gotten” even though you’re 35, you can use your smartphone to liven things up with multiplayer games like Heads Up!
It helps you send holiday cards
For all those people who are worth more than a text, but less than a handwritten card, there are services like Ink Cards, which let you send semi-customized (usually with a picture) physical cards to people’s mailboxes. It’s the perfect way to let people know you care, but not enough to actually leave your house and go to the post office.
It helps you settle arguments
Stupid arguments. Like, which route should we take to the grocery store? THIS ONE, MOM, GOOGLE MAPS SAYS THE HIGHWAY IS BUMPER TO BUMPER.
It keeps you sane
Spending a week or two with your family can be tough. Especially if your family happens to live in the 20th century and for some reason has no reliable Internet connection in their house?! Thank goodness you have your phone—even work emails are a godsend, at this point.