/ Technology

Nothing to open on digital Christmas

Computer keyboard with Christmas key

Did you have fewer Christmas presents under your tree this year? It seemed that way in the Stevens’ household. Not because we’ve all turned a bit Ebenezer Scrooge, more that this year was an eChristmas.

My mum now has an iPod – so no more CDs for her – and it won’t be long before my dad will be having his Economist delivered to his Kindle rather than through his letterbox.

For years, books, music and films have been staple Christmas gifts at home and while they are likely to continue to be, it seems they’ll increasingly be given digitally rather than physically.

The pros and cons of digital gifts

There are benefits. Digital Christmas shopping can be left right up until the last minute. There are no postage and packaging costs to factor in, you don’t have to fight the drones of shoppers on the high street and the product will never be out of stock.

But there are major downsides to this approach too: the tree looks bare on Christmas Eve and you can’t unwrap a digital gift – virtual unwrapping simply doesn’t count.

You can even give digital Christmas cards, and while these may make your inbox swell with pride, you can hardly have them on display around your home and make it look festive. Or go one step further – research carried out by Good Mobile Phones showed that 78% of the 2,036 people it surveyed will be sending Christmas texts rather than Christmas cards.

Keep Christmas physical

The giving of egifts and ecards doesn’t have the same impact as giving a physical, squeezable present. And as there’s less effort required, the present seems to mean less too.

In general, I’m in favour of ebooks and digital music and films. They take up less space and are easier to lug around. But next Christmas, I’d rather have a novelty pair of socks than nothing to open at all.


Hold on a sec – owning an iPod doesn’t mean you’ll stop buying CDs. My partner and I own, between us, two iPod Nanos, an iPod Touch and an iPhone. And we still buy CDs as well.

I loathe ebooks. I would be happy with virtual presents to a point, though.