There are quite a few ways we like to think about how Thanksgiving began. Some versions are warm and fuzzy. Others are down right disappointing. Regardless of what you believe, or choose to believe, or choose to disregard, it’s what Thanksgiving is about now that’s most relevant.
For many of us the holiday is symbolic of our human need for community. Our need for human interaction and celebration, with a little sustenance thrown in for good measure.
I remember when Thanksgiving really was just that. A day full of cooking, laughter, hugs, watching the Macy’s parade, watching football, sleeping, eating, eating again – We’re sure you all know the drill. It all revolved around not just being together, but also being present.
But in today’s modern world Thanksgiving has become very, very different. Not necessarily for better or for worse. Just different.
We’re all there, but are we really all present?
Now that we have cell phones, well mini wifi-enabled computers, we’re hyper in touch with the digispace, but sort of out of touch with face-to-face. We know we rely on our phones to get us through the day. We pull it out to get a recipe. We may pull it out to tweet a #turkeyselfie, facebook, or google search to end an argument. We pull it out to constantly refresh our inboxes, check in on work projects, and worst of all, to shop (no more waiting for Black Friday, the deals start on Thanksgiving day people!).
It’s a lot. It’s so useful. So functional. And it has certainly made Thanksgiving dishes substantially better (TY Food & Wine app!). In fact, 44% of recipe searches came from mobile on Thanksgiving Day last year, and it’s already trending higher this year.
But, I still find myself thinking about the Thanksgivings we enjoyed pre-smartphone. Somehow I wasn’t bored, the food tasted just as good, and I felt relaxed. I have very vivid memories of live conversations, endless games of pass the pigs, and “accidentally” adding too much rum to the rum bread pudding.
So…what would it mean if we got rid of our smart devices for the day? If we turned off our phones <gasp>, turning down our digital connection and turning up our in-person, in-the-moment connection?
I’m not sure how it’s going to go folks, but I’m doing it. And I’m challenging you to do it too.
Tell me how it goes (the day after obviously!) with #TurnDownForTurkey!