It’s that time of year again: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, the presence of friends and family, and a reason to give thanks for all of our good fortune in the last year.
If there’s one thing most of us want to NOT think about on Thanksgiving, it’s technology. Put the smartphones away, pack up the laptop, and disconnect for one day, right? Well, technology can actually help to bring us together on this most American of holidays, provided it’s put to good use instead of as a distraction from family time.
Here are 5 ways to put technology to work for you this Thanksgiving, all of which will hopefully result in a more relaxing holiday:
- Cooking and meal planning apps.
Sure, Grandma put out a delicious spread for 15 people without relying on so much as a recipe. But in this digital day and age, doesn’t it make more sense to utilize technology when you’re prepping and cooking for three days straight? From shopping and planning list apps like Clear+ to recipe clearinghouses like Butterball Cookbook Plus to menu assistants like Snapguide to project management sorters like KitchenPad Timer to interactive scales and high-tech thermometers, the app store can be your best (and cheapest) friend as you prepare for Thursday’s feast.
- Skype, FaceTime, or other video calling services.
Far away from your loved ones? Good thing Internet-based video calling is easy, cheap, and everywhere. Whether you prefer Skype, FaceTime, or another video conferencing service, don’t let distance keep you from telling that absent relative how much you love and miss them this Thanksgiving.
- DVR, TiVo, or other video/TV solution.
Everybody wants to watch their own personal Thanksgiving tradition: the Macy’s Parade, football games, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”… Rather than fighting over the remote, though, let’s put technology like DVR, TiVo, or even the streaming service that can dial up Aunt Martha’s favorite show in an instant to use. Don’t like watching TV? Use that giant screen to let everyone display family pictures from throughout the year (Note: one tech-wise family member required).
- The electric carving knife.
Doesn’t sound very technologically involved — but ask anyone who’s had to cut up a turkey the old-fashioned way whether they’d prefer a semi-sharp blade or an electric carving knife come dinner time on Thursday. This time-saver and frustration-minimizer is the ultimate in basic Thanksgiving technology.
- Tech support from the goodness of our hearts.
Let’s face it: our technologically disinclined relatives will always need a hand with their computer, smartphone, or digital camera. We know how frustrating it can be to help them learn the ins and outs of their device, but this Thanksgiving, remember that we do it because we love them — and they love us right back when we can finally figure out how to turn the darn thing on.