'Tis the season to put down your smartphone before it ruins your holiday

Find out what happens when you put down your smartphone this holiday season and look for opportunities to reconnect with those you love.

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  • Recently, while driving around town listening to holiday music, I heard a radio host to ask listeners to call in and say what they enjoyed most about the holiday season. Several of those who commented said spending time with friends and family was one of the best parts of this time of year. Sometimes, we're so connected to our online lives that we don't fully appreciate the people and opportunities all around us.

  • If you have trouble letting go of your phone, here are 12 festive ideas to inspire you. Try ...

  • Putting down your smartphone and pulling your spouse under the mistletoe.

  • Putting down your tablet and picking up a board game to play with family or friends.

  • Putting down your laptop and picking up a gingerbread house to decorate with your grandchildren.

  • Putting down your podcast and picking up some Christmas treats to share with neighbors.

  • Putting down your smartphone and picking a holiday movie to watch with your family.

  • Putting down your laptop and picking up a Christmas story to read to your children or grandchildren.

  • Putting down your tablet and grabbing some items for the perfect hot cocoa bar.

  • Putting down your social media and picking up your phone to call a friend who might be feeling lonely.

  • Putting down your smartphone and going on a walk to work off some of those holiday goodies.

  • Putting down your laptop and joining the kids outside as they make the perfect snowman.

  • Putting down your tablet and picking up a treasured family recipe to make with friends.

  • Putting down your smartphone and picking someone less fortunate to help this holiday season.

  • If you want to make the most of the holiday season, put down those personal electronic devices and get personal with others making memories with those you love. Social media sharing is optional.

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Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.

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