Sometimes it is easy to get sucked into the hype and hoopla of the holiday season, rushing to set up parties, getting gifts for those you love, and still managing to work. One of the best things I've done in my life was to move close to work. I live a half mile from campus so I no longer get to experience the traffic disaster that is the normal Seattle-area commute. Sometimes it's the simple things in live the improves the quality.
Another thing I've done is to replace gift giving with time. I spend time with the people I love, help them if they need help, and go to the theater or concerts with them which is something I really enjoy. These things can cost money too, but they are for things that my family and friends need, not just tokens that tests my powers of observation. Lessee, my sister Debby reads science fiction so let's find a book she hasn't read.
Often times, the support and time I give is based on the computer and software needs of the person I'm helping. Because I've done this for a while now, my mom, daughter, and wife all blog. This is something they would not have done on their own. My mom is telling her life story a couple of paragraphs a week on her blog. And the family loves it. It sparks interest, much more than trying to read the thirteenth iteration of a manuscript. And because the blog format provides the ability to ask questions via the comment feature. Dialogs are started and captured for the grandchildren to see in the future.
I guess you won't be surprised to find that my extended family uses Windows Live Spaces for their blogging editor/experience. It's very simple but sufficiently deep that you are always learning something as you get more experienced.
So while I didn't start out to make this yet another Microsoft advertisement (YAMA), I have found that having a simple blog experience has brought my family together.
Bonus points! My grandson has started to blog. He and I spend a lot of time playing saxophone and clarinet too. But I didn't teach him how to blog. His mother, my daughter, did because she was having so much fun. Now if we could only teach more readers to comment on the blogs more. Most bloggers live for the feedback.