‘Tis the season for passing judgment.

“What have you done to your hair?”

“You’ve put on some weight, huh?”

“Why can’t you come home for the holidays? You like your in-laws better than us?”

Don’t answer any of those. We know that in real life—we’ve learned to ignore, tune out, or otherwise get through family holidays and not make chance comments a big deal. Most of the time, anyway. However, when personal commentary is compounded on social media, it gets, well, awkward.

That’s why I really like the 2018 holiday ad from Ikea. They point out a problem: namely, the potential for too much time on social media when you could be interacting with your family. But—and here’s the point—they don’t point a finger and then go merrily on their way advertising throughout the holiday season.

No, if you watch this ad to the end, you’ll see that they put their mouth where their money is and tell you that they are taking a break from social media until next year. They are—in the words of my mother—setting a good example.

With all the news and commentary on social media bullying, and the permission we seem to have to comment, unasked, on people’s troubles, it’s interesting to see a brand point out the real issue . . . which is, of course, that any time spent on your mobile device is time you aren’t spending doing something else. As productive as your device time may be, when it comes to the holidays, there is nothing quite as productive as connecting with friends and family.

The ad points out what that real connection means, and even, if we’re paying attention, gives us some good conversation starters. So, ask Grandpa how he met Grandma. Ask your aunt what she studied, or to tell you about her job. Ask you mom what her current dream is, and don’t let her tell you it’s for you to be happy—really ask what she’d like to do next. You might be surprised to find out how deep and rich the lives around you are.

We’ve watched social media since its beginnings, and we’re hopeful there is a new evolution to come. . .one that will encourage communication in human form, rather than simply be a communication device. In the meantime, whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year, perhaps you can deliberately put your phone down once in a while.

At least while you assemble that piece from Ikea.

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