I Wish You a Merry – and Joyfully Analogue – Christmas

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Open Thread: What Are You Doing Today?

Tis the night – or day, if you’re in the US – before Christmas – at least for those who live in the majority-Christian bits of the world – and all through the house – or in my case, hotel – not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. The mouse, after all, is dead.

There are plety of things I love about spending Christmas in the UK – snow, repeats of old TV shows I haven’t seen since this time last year, Christmas crackers – but more than all of that, I love the fact that Christmas is one of the last parts of the year that remains mostly analogue.

Yes, of course this will be the Christmas of the Kindle and the iPad; and yes, more electronic equipment will probably change hands in the next 24 hours than in the rest of the year combined, but the 25th December is still a day when even those of us who obsess about technology for a living feel a bit tragic when we check our email or log on to Twitter.

For most people it’s also a time of year when we still generously give and gratefully receive physical gifts, as opposed to virtual ones. More paper books are sold at this time of the year than at any other time – not least because there’s something peculiarly joyful about inscribing a heartfelt greeting on a flyleaf and handing over a big block of dead tree to someone you care about. It’s something that will never – ever – be replicated by an ebook. DVD sales do pretty well too, and even CDs enjoy a brief reprieve as kids rush to buy gifts for their stubbornly analogue elders.

Food too will take a peculiarly untechnological bent for the next couple of days: Christmas is a time for visiting family and eating tried and tested old recipes. No Yelping or Chowhounding required. And don’t even think about Foursquaring; everyone knows where you are – you’re at home (yours or someone else’s), no cutesy, pointless badge required.

Finally, Christmas is one day where social networking is absolutely, categorically inferior to the real thing. It’s a day for hugging (maybe even poking) real people, exchanging non-pixellated gifts and having real conversations without an emoticon in sight. You’re allowed to send one “Merry Christmas” tweet, but after that, every time you update your status on Christmas day, God kills one of the shepherds.

…all of which makes it slightly ironic that I’m sitting here at my keyboard, at 7:30pm (GMT) on Christmas eve, logging into WordPress and writing a blog post for the world’s most high profile technology blog. But quotas are quotas, and it at least gives me a long-winded excuse to wish all of TechCrunch’s readers – even the freaks and the trolls – a very happy, and very un-digital – Christmas.

And if, like me, you find yourself stuck at a keyboard today, I highly recommend this post by Foster Kamer over at Longreads who shares his top five long reads of 2010. I mean, if you’re forced to be digital today, you might as well do it old school.

Happy Christmas.

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