The holidays are a cherished time where we gather with our loved ones and carry on all sorts of traditions. Some families eat the same meal every year or bake a particular pie, while others play a certain game or watch their favorite holiday movie.

No matter how small a tradition is, it is fun to look forward to repeating an activity year after year to celebrate the holidays. Here are just a few common traditions that we have technology to thank for:

• Watching classic holiday movies. Every year people get excited when holiday movies start airing on TV. The first appearance of holiday music and shows marks the beginning of the holiday season.

Whether you like The Hallmark Channel or classic films, festive movies are a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

Some families have one special movie they watch every year. Since DVDs have become a thing of the past, record the program ahead of time, or search your provider’s OnDemand library to view it easily.

• Cyber Christmas caroling. This year, the tradition of going door to door to sing Christmas carols isn’t recommended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A safer and socially distant option is to carol online via video chat. You also get to stay warm and cozy inside your home instead of trekking up and down the street.

Some choir groups are getting extra creative this year by taking the singer’s recordings and editing them together to make one comprehensive song. Try downloading video and recording software to make your own holiday mix.

• Tracking Santa. For children who grew up with the internet, tracking Santa Clause online was a thrilling tradition for Christmas Eve. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa’s Christmas Eve ride around the world for children to follow online.

Families can watch his sleigh fly worldwide, delivering presents to families on his list, and get excited for him to make it to their house. For today’s children, NORAD also gives updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages. 

• Virtual bedtime stories. Reading bedtime stories is a fantastic way for families to connect with their children and teach them important lessons. The age-old tradition of reading bedtime stories has evolved with the presence of video chatting. This holiday season especially, there might be relatives who cannot travel to visit in person. Remote loved ones and military members can read their children and grandchildren bedtime stories over video chat.

United Through Reading is a program that helps connect loved ones during deployment. The organization records service members reading books aloud so that family members at home can access those stories and feel less distant.

Lynn Hall is the general manager of Hargray.