As Christmas approaches, many people are getting ready for the same traditions they celebrate every year. It’s a holiday of tradition, after all – whether that means the fairly universal traditions like decorating a Christmas tree or the personal traditions like always having ham and cheesy potatoes for dinner every year.
Our traditions are likely to change in the future, however, according to a new report Amazon has released, which you can download here. The Christmas of the Future report says that while our most beloved traditions may never change, like dinner with family and presents under the tree, the nature of the food we eat and the trees we sit in front of may look very different before long. The report was written by technology expert Kat Hannaford, who consulted with futurists William Higham and Dr. Morgaine Gaye about what they believe we will see in Christmases yet to come.
“December is a time of preparation and celebration, and technology will put a festive twist on how we approach Christmas in the future, while making the celebration more convenient and communal,” said Higham.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas tree, would it? Maybe it will, the experts say. Don’t worry – we’ll still have a Christmas tree in some form, but it may be more of the virtual nature, with LED Christmas trees and decorations projected on walls. If you’re not a fan of that idea, they also give some suggestions like growing our own Christmas trees hydroponically and, of course, 3D printing our Christmas ornaments.
“As more of us start discovering 3D printers, we’ll be able to print our own decorations which we can melt down in January, store easily and then recreate next Christmas,” says Dr. Gaye. “3D printed baubles can be any shape, size or colour, and personalised with names, emojis or slogans as we wish.”
Or your own face, if that’s what you really want.
The futurists predict that our Christmas dinners may be 3D printed, as well. That’s not a bad idea, especially if you have a big family with different tastes and dietary needs. Having a 3D printer in the kitchen allows for customization in both content and form. Forget Christmas tree cookie cutters; a food 3D printer enables an entire meal designed for the holiday, with Christmas tree-shaped turkey servings and snowflake desserts.
“For many, an impressive feast is what makes Christmas,” Dr. Gaye notes. “Soon we will be adding even more of a homemade touch to our Christmas spreads, from using hydroponic technology to help us grow fruit and vegetables in our kitchens, no matter how small, to 3D printing helping us to create stunning edible artworks for dessert.”
The experts even suggest that our pets will be able to get in on the deal, with bone-shaped meat and mouse-shaped catnip treats.
In addition, the futurists suggest that our family dinners are likely to become much more multicultural in terms of the food we eat, and that we’ll be producing more of the ingredients ourselves, again using hydroponics.
What about those family members who can’t make it to dinner, though, because of distance? We’ll still be able to see them and even hug them, the futurists say, thanks to virtual reality. The technology will allow us not only to welcome holograms of our loved ones into our living rooms, it will enable us to share a “haptic hug,” using clothing that recreate the sense of touch using vibrations or motions.
“Experiencing simple things like a hug from a relative overseas will be possible wearing haptic clothing,” says Higham. “Not only this, but holographic images could conjure up anyone we want to celebrate with, whether it’s a vision of Santa Claus or our own distant loved ones. Taking up no space and using voice recognition software, these images will be instant, interactive and fun!”
We won’t stop giving each other presents, say Dr. Gaye and Higham, but our shopping will be much more AI-directed.
“In future, we’ll use our shopping, viewing and social media behaviours to generate an instant Christmas list that we make available to friends and family, a seasonal version of a Wedding List,” says Higham.
So be careful what you look at online – especially those who decide they want to be completely surprised and have their AI assistants pass their lists to their friends and family without looking at them first. The futurists also predict that we’ll be buying gifts for more people as our families expand into “framilies” made up of friends, colleagues and neighbors. They even suggest that we’ll be buying gifts for our AI assistants – and our pets, of course.
“As animal lovers increasingly spend more on speciality food for their pets, we can expect to see specific gourmet meals for dogs and cats,” says Dr. Gaye. “They will have their own advent calendar and their own screen so they can connect to other pets at the tap of a nose.”
I’m having a little trouble with that last part, but hey, people buy weirder things for their pets now. According to Dr. Gaye and Higham, some things will never change – board games will remain popular on Christmas Day, for example. I personally can’t imagine not having a physical Christmas tree, being able to touch the branches and smell the pine fragrance. Being able to virtually see and hug out-of-town relatives and friends, however, sounds like a great thing.
The Christmas of the Future report was developed in conjunction with Amazon UK’s recently added Shop the Future collection, which you can check out here.
What do you think the Christmas of the Future will be like? Share your thoughts on this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or below.[Images via Amazon]