What does Christmas have to do with User Experience? I would say a lot, but it’s not obvious at the first glance. For sure, Christmas is has different meanings for everyone of us but a lot of things are the same when it comes to the Christmas season. If you are curious and want to know how I interpret the UX of Christmas, then enjoy reading.
🍫 The UX of Christmas
As a child, I always had one of those typical Advent calendars filled with pieces of chocolate. The size of the calendar was about 30x40cm and every day I was allowed to open one of the 24 little windows and behind it waited a small piece of chocolate in the form of a Christmas symbol. I loved these calendars and was excited every day when I was allowed to open one of the windows.
But by December 25 at the latest, the thing was uninteresting and ended up in the trash. Every year. So after 3.5 weeks and 24 small joys remained nothing more than a plastic-cardboard mixture as waste.
Christmas is the season of love, they say. But I have the feeling that Christmas has become a time of waste and pollution. This affects how I – and probably many other people – experience the Christmas season nowadays. Unlike the balls on the tree, Christmas doesn’t shine with a good user experience.
😬 The problem of Christmas
Christmas has turned from a cozy and harmonious religious celebration into an economic event. Instead of enjoying the pre-Christmas period and the actual holiday, we rush through Advent, planning one get-together after another and are busy getting festive decorations, buying presents and putting up a Christmas tree. All perfectly arranged, of course, and definitely better than last year. Every year again.
🎄 UXmas solutions
So where can we start to improve the Christmas UX? I used How-Might-We Questions to steer my solution approaches in a targeted direction and gave a lot of thought to what actually constitutes a peaceful Christmas.
Stay calm and resist
Black Friday, Cybermonday, the continuous loop of commercials on Instagram and YouTube, banner ads everywhere (hurray for the AdBlocker) and even out on the streets, a poster jumps out at us on every corner showing us which product we absolutely need. Quite stressful. But it’s Christmas time 🙁 If you want a better Christmas User Experience, you have to take action yourself.
A mix of digital detox and active personal awareness are perhaps the best ways to experience the Christmas season in a more harmonic and relaxed way. What do I mean by that?
Reducing screentime, limiting social media use, and pausing at the next impulse to buy something and thinking carefully about whether we really need it now or whether it would just «feel good to have it». When the advertising spillover is reduced, we have our heads free again to concentrate on what really matters at this time.
Living and breaking traditions
Do we really need the chocolate-in-plastic-and-cardboard Advent calendar, or could we also switch to a simple calendar with small images on paper? Does it always have to be expensive physical gifts that might just end up lying in the corner anyway? Toys that have already lost their appeal by the beginning of January, the zillionth digital device, etc.?
Users are only human, and unfortunately they are generally comfortable and like to hold on to what they already know well and extensively. Traditions and habits are common, because they give change a hard time. But often it is only by breaking through habitual traditions that something new can emerge.
What traditions could you throw overboard to consume less? Do without gifts, or even the Christmas tree? Changes may even result in new, even better traditions that are worth keeping.
Do you need a Christmas tree?
Let’s stay with the traditions and habits. This includes the traditional Christmas tree. Sure, it’s extremely beautiful when a freshly cut fir tree stands in the room smelling good, the little lights radiate a warm light and are reflected a thousand times in the suspended glass baubles. The perfect Christmas user experience.
But after 4 weeks at the latest, the tree will go to the trash. Millions of trees are raised for years, fertilized, watered, only to be cut and then disposed of. What a waste of resources, just for some cozy atmosphere.
Doing without a tree altogether would probably be best, but also a disappointing user experience. However, why not switch to sustainable alternatives, such as reusable Christmas trees made of cardboard or local wood. Maybe the UX even increases as a result, because the mood remains the same, but the emotional factor is increased even more.
❤️ Merry Xmas
Even though there are many people who are stressed during the Christmas season, for most of us it is a very nice time. If you find yourself not being happy, realizing that you are just rushing around, or want to escape the shopping mania, there are many ways that everyone can improve the UX of Christmas for themselves.
I hope this article will inspire you to think about your own personal UXmas and add iterations at the appropriate points to end up with a «better» Christmas UX.
Feel free to let me know how you perceive or want to change your Christmas UX. The best way is to write me on Instagram, LinkedIn or Mastodon.
In any case, I wish you happy holidays, a cozy time with your loved ones and I’m looking forward to sharing more UX topics here on the blog next year.
Merry Xmas ❤️🎄