The internet has become so integral to our everyday lives that even the most old-fashioned items on the Christmas ‘to do’ list have now been transformed.
So it’s true that in some situations, we actually can’t live without technology, but metaphorically speaking, could you have survived Christmas without it?
Here’s my top 10 ways in which the internet changed Christmas in 2012:
1. Writing a Christmas list
2012 brought us the explosion of Pinterest and helped us make the perfect shareable Christmas lists.
A recent survey of female Pinterest users in the US found that 25% would create a Christmas ‘want board’ in 2012.
Some luxury brands, such as Gucci, even facilitated this idea, pushing their gift guides via Pinterest for users to re-pin the products onto their own accounts.
Well, how else were they going to choose the right onesie otherwise?
2. RSVP to the office party
With over a billion users now on Facebook each day, we are now more than used to receiving and replying to our ‘friend’s’ events electronically.
So it makes sense for invitation management to the office Christmas party to become more sophisticated too.
In 2012, online ticketing service Eventbrite issued its 50 millionth ticket and helped people in more than 175 countries to organise and join events.
Eventbrite pricing is transparent and what’s more, it’s free for free events which makes it the cost effective choice for organising events of all shapes, sizes and (most importantly) budgets.
3. ‘Visiting’ the family
With some game-changing tablet and smartphone announcements in 2012, it was a big year for device launches, particularly for those supporting either FaceTime or Skype applications.
Flurry Analytics reported that around 17 million iOS and Android devices were activated on the Christmas day, which was 250% more than reported in 2011.
And a similar increase was seen in users searching for FaceTime or Skype related terms on the 25th December.
So no matter where you were this Christmas, it seems ‘visiting’ the family saw a step-change in 2012.
4. ‘Sending’ Christmas cards Gangnam-style
2012 saw Korean popstar PSY’s unexpected worldwide hit ‘Gangnam Style’ gaining over a billion views on YouTube.
So what better way to let someone know you’re thinking of them at Christmas than to create and share your very own version of the music video?
Self-proclaimed ‘digital media company dedicated to making funny things worth sharing’, Jib Jab did just that and let us create our own Gangnam holiday video cards.
5. Online Christmas shopping, beating the high street crowds
OK, so this is no revelation, but it is true that online Christmas shopping is increasing year on year, and part of that is because of innovative solutions from retailers.
Christmas shopping in 2012 was a joy for me. No, really.
There were no snow showers or postal delays.
I could check, reserve and pick items up off peak.
New delivery operators meant I avoided those never-ending Post Office queues on Saturday mornings.
I bought postage online.
My items arrived gift-wrapped.
I even earned cashback for the privilege.
I just hope the same applies to returns and exchanges…
6. Decorating the tree
Whether you go for a real one or prefer a fake, decorating the tree has never been easier when you order it ready-dressed online!
They’ll even remove it too.
7. Compiling the Christmas playlist
Gone are the days of buying, borrowing or stealing Christmas CDs to create the ultimate playlist.
With my saved playlists on Spotify, I simply had to review last year’s list, pay to stop the ads for the day, pop on the Christmas jumper and crack open the mulled wine.
8. Reading a newspaper on Christmas Day
The Times and The Sun did it in 2011, and on 25th December 2012 The Daily Mail and The Telegraph each produced a Christmas Day tablet edition.
The last time The Telegraph released a Christmas Day edition was in 1912, when editors agreed to stop production of newspapers in order to give those involved with their delivery the day off.
So the delivery of iPad, Windows 8 and Kindle versions 100 years later really is a break in tradition.
9. Watching the Queen’s Speech (on demand)
Revolutionary developments in on-demand, catch up or live TV services, 2012 saw the end of needing to record the Christmas TV specials.
With Sky’s updated ‘Sky Go’ app now available on both iOS and Android devices, Virgin Media’s ‘Virgin TV Anywhere’ offering following closely behind, quicker availability of programmes on iPlayer, ITV Player and 4OD, and popular live TV apps such as TVCatchup, we were no longer restricted by the broadcast schedules.
Even HRH The Queen went 3D.
10. Hitting the sales
No longer do we need to battle the crowds to bag a Boxing Day bargain, with many online retailers actually launching their sales on Christmas Eve.
Latest results from Experian revealed that UK consumers made 113m visits to retail websites on Boxing Day to research or buy reduced items, a 17% increase YoY.
That was in between tweeting seasonal snippets.
So that just leaves us to work out innovative ways in which to compile (and ignore) our new year’s resolutions…
Happy New Year, here’s to a great 2013!