12/7/08

A Space Age Christmas

I happened across this great article from 1974 speculating about how Christmas will be in 2003. Here's a reproduction of some of it (with my astute commentary in blue):

Christmas Cooking by Computer
For instance it might well be that everyone's Christmas dinner will be cooked with the help of a home computer. This will be good news for the housewife - all she will have to do will be to set the dials and sit back until the meal is cooked. The computer will make sure that the correct temperatures are maintained, and when the food is done to a turn it will switch off the heat.

This heat could be microwave, as is used in some restaurants today, or it might be the new 'cold heat', which uses infra-red rays, radiating from a series of tubes. This 'cold heat', which is called 'cold' because it does not glow red or appear to be hot at all when you look at it, will be used for grilling.

[retrospace: Pretty much on the mark. We are indeed using microwaves, and most kitchen appliances have some sort of internal computer]


Cards and Presents
Christmas cards might well be a thing of the past by 2003.

Already people can speak on the telephone to friends and relations thousands of miles away, and by 2003 you might even be able to see the person you are talking to, if the videophone comes into common use.

Christmas messages might possibly also be sent on recording tape, and as this could well be the thickness of a human hair, such a tape would fit neatly into a small envelope.

[retrospace: Obviously not anticipating digital communication, this hair sized tape prediction falls way off the mark. How exactly is sending a miniature tape via snail mail advanced? Good try, though.]

There are two theories about the kind of Christmas presents you might expect in 2003, and no one can say exactly which of them is correct.

Because of the incredible advances in automation, machines might well be doing most of the work in our factories and offices, and so everyone might have much more leisure time. Many people believe that this will lead to a revival of handicrafts of all kinds, both because everyone will have more time for the craftsmanship involved and also because of the sheer unattractiveness of many mass-produced goods.

So, if that theory is correct, Christmas presents in the year 2003 would probably be hand-made garments, handbound books, and beautifully-made objects in such materials as silver, gold, porcelain and fine china.

[retrospace: Wrong!]

The opposing theory argues that these handicrafts are being widely forgotten, and that there are fewer and fewer craftsmen, so that interest in handicrafts might eventually die completely. If that happens, your 2003 Christmas present is more likely to be something like a miniature pocket computer, or maybe a ticket for a day trip in orbit round the Earth!

[retrospace: Amazingly, in 1974 they thought we'd have more leisure time! Americans work many more hours per week than they did 30+ years ago, and they sure don't spend their free time making hand crafted Christmas presents. I think they're pretty much on the money with the "opposing theory" of handicrafts going bye-bye and miniature computers (i.e. iPhones) being the new Christmas gift. Sad but true.]

So there you are. Those are some of the theories and ideas about what Christmas might be like in the 21st century. All the experts have spent a lot of time, and done a lot of research, trying to predict exactly how we will be living in future years.

But for all the knowledge and science that we have all anyone can do is predict. No one knows exactly what daily life will be like in the next century.

But let's hope that all that's best about our traditional Christmas will stay, and that it will still be the same festival of happiness and goodwill that it is today.


Text reproduced from the Dr. Who Annual 1974, published by World Distributors (Manchester) Ltd. (source here)

Hat tip to the Funky Junk Trunk for the space age Frigidaire ad

1 comment:

  1. I've said this before, but I really wish we would have had the future that was predicted by in the 50's, etc. I love watching all those old clips and seeing pics of how they envisioned our time period. It sure looked much cooler than how it turned out.

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