New Media Brings Fresh Ways to Be Home For the Holidays


by Neil Kielar - Tastemaker in Residence

Some traditions are so deeply ingrained in a culture that they’re captured in well-traveled aphorisms and even celebrated in song.

“There’s no place like home for the holidays” plays itself out in many ways. Like when table leaves are pulled from storage and a dining room normally set for two or three or four expands to embrace 10 or more. Not to mention the extra kids’ table and all those folding chairs.

Yet more than anything, it’s the spirit of coming together through relationships, shared history, a sense of belonging and food. Always food.

Not everyone can manage to be in the same place on a holiday. So social media allows “no place like home for the holidays” to adapt, expand and take new forms. It also opens up the time frame of when celebrations take place to include before, during and after the traditional event.

You can embrace social media on any number of channels to create new traditions that are inclusive, creative and still result in that sense of belonging.

Create an event on Facebook and include everyone in your invited circle to RSVP, share information, plan a menu, share recipes and – oh no – post pictures from past get-togethers. Facebook also is famous/notorious for sharing food pictures. Even family and friends who can’t attend the live event can participate.

I’ve used Twitter (and Facebook) as a source for recipe suggestions, both asking my network for ideas and also scouring posts from others. Of course, you can share food pictures too. If your circle is extremely Twitter-centric, create a fun hashtag for everyone to use in his or her real time tweets.

You can use a classic blogging platform like WordPress or Google Blogger to create a private blog for more heavy-duty information sharing. Remember to keep settings private so no one uninvited crashes the party. Same goes for Tumblr, which is often a friendlier space for short videos.

Speaking of videos, Vine can be a blast for content creation and distribution. Imagine the fun you’ll all have watching a six-second loop of Grandma swallowing a cube of Jello with marshmallows.

Pinterest lets you share pictures around themes, and you can invite others to pin to your boards. How about inviting everyone to pin pictures from past holiday gatherings. And if you don’t pin food pics, then you’re swimming against the inevitable tide of social media and food.

Neal Kielar is brand marketing veteran with expertise in creating and distributing content through social media. He’s also a home décor tastemaker with a specialty in classic modern design through his Minneapolis/St. Paul-based retail store MidModMen+friends.