Utilizing modern technology to brighten the holiday

Take time to connect to the world around you, and be thankful for the opportunity to do so.

As Christmas approaches, people tend to reach out to long-lost family members, schedule their annual phone calls to older relatives and make time to come together with those they love most.

There is sometimes discussion that the Internet and social media have created an atmosphere of disconnect, but at the same time our world is praised for being more connected than ever. With this constant connection available to us through e-mail,facebook and texting, it becomes important to use those tools to stay connected to the people we love most.

Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will always appreciate a call from their children, grand-children and nieces and nephews but now we can take it to the next step.

Setting up a facebook call or a Skype call is easy, and can be done virtually anywhere in the world to virtually anywhere else.

A video call means the world to a family member, and brings an extra level of personal connection to the call. Being able tosee the way a child has grown, or see a family member smile while they laugh makes the conversation much more meaningful.

Taking time to send a text takes less than a minute, even though it sometimes feels that minute is difficult to find.

In reality, we have the ability to be connected across cities, across provinces, countries and oceans. Photos can be snapped and sent in an instant via cell phone, or uploaded to facebook for a family to view in another country.

For those who work away from their homes, it becomes almost second nature to make phone calls, send pictures and arrange video chats with their loved ones and many of us can apply these everyday techniques to our lives. If we can spare the time to play a game on our phones or watch an episode of our favourite show, we can very likely take the time to call our grandparents or send them an e-mail with photos of recent successes.

Some people spend the holidays alone, either by choice or by circumstance, and this could be the perfect time to send out a text, an invitation or arrange a chat with our more solitary friends.

For some, Christmastime can simply be overwhelming or difficult due to financial restraints, dealing with a loss of a friend or family member or any number of other circumstantial issues. Taking the time to send a thoughtful message can truly make people feel more connected to the world around them, and maybe brighten up their spirits in a dark time.

As we have the ability to connect more to the world around us, it is important to utilize this tool and reach out to our friends and family.

Sometimes people get caught up in their day-to-day lives, and forget to reply to the e-mails or text messages they receive,but at this time of year it can be especially important to double-check and take the time to ensure a thoughtful response.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, December is a perfect excuse to connect to the other people in your life.

It’s a time to volunteer, a time to look through family photos, or spend time with friends or even pets, if that’s more your style.

Utilizing our gift of connection over this season can make a world of difference, both to the sender and to the recipient.

Call your grandparents, your parents and siblings.

Send or ask for photos of friends or family members you haven’t seen in awhile. Take time to connect to the world around you, and be thankful for the opportunity to do so.