Is Technology Ruining Christmas?

09/12/2011 23:27 GMT | Updated 08/02/2012 10:12 GMT

As a writer, I find myself irresponsibly lost for words as I begin to write this blog. Not that I've 'hit the wall' or ran out of creative initiative but at the sheer content I come to discuss, and here is why.

I am a big fan of technology and the purposes it serves for a world that demands more than it often can give. However, if there is one time of year when all talk of mobile phones and laptops should be banished its undoubtedly Christmas.

But in a headline in a national newspaper this week it became apparent that the 21st century had slammed its way into the festive season like a bull steaming through a China shop, when I read that "1 in 3 Children will write their lists to Santa through a website or Smartphone App."

The article went further to explain how one-quarter of children will also send their Christmas greetings through social networking site, Facebook.

After reading this I felt a sense of disappointment, in fact a similar feeling to the one you first get when you hear that, actually, Santa just does not exist. I struggle to see where the magic of Christmas lies for children when their beliefs lie behind the screen of a computer...or even worse their mobile phones.

A quick Google search will give you pages upon pages of results where you can write your letter to Santa, a lot of which remain templates for the 'old fashioned' pen and paper letter. However, the first one I discovered at the top of the page was an App called Letters to Santa. This app takes you through a 'magical' story before you eventually reach a page where you can write you present wishes to Santa - although I fail to see where, in fact, the magic happens.

The second, however, I found a little more worrying. I came across an app called Barcode Hero which gives its user the chance to scan the barcode of a particular item they have been looking at which will then send an email to the parents letting them know exactly what it is the child is looking for.

Scary when you consider the power it gives the app user. It is almost creating a demand and taking away any sense of what Christmas stands for replacing it with nothing more than an event of receiving presents.

Maybe it is just a sign of how the times have changed, but for me technology is beginning to stick its nose in where it does not belong.

The actual writing of a letter to Santa is much more than the list the letter contains. It is symbolic to that child; it is a way to connect to something that is far bigger than anything they can imagine. In fact, it becomes much more than the gift they are even wishing for and more about writing to this mystical being, Santa, who listens to what children want and then even personally makes it himself specially for them. It builds a connection with children and the North Pole, a place that only exists in childish innocence and beliefs in the unknown.

But how are children supposed to believe in the magic of Christmas and trust in a Santa Clause if the most recognised way of contact is through a registered email account?

I'm not sure at what point technology has began to play such a dedicated role in the festive season, but what I am sure of is that it is more than likely here to stay. As technology continues to evolve and people continue to take further steps into the bizarre and unnecessary it is going to become more difficult for us to get a grip of what Christmas really means.

We have all been there, picking out our favourite VHS, sitting down with a packet of Crayola crayons and writing the most colourful and exciting Christmas letter to Santa. Of course, explaining how we have been good all year round and almost definitely deserve that new BMX we have noticed in the new bicycle shop around the corner.

We once believed in the magic, and I hope that the next generation of children will too.