Put down those phones for Christmas, says Archbishop of York

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has called for a Christmas mobile phone and tablet switch-off as a new survey showed a quarter of the UK admitted to checking emails on Christmas Day.

The Archbishop of York calls for Christmas mobile phone switch-offCofE York

Dr Sentamu said Britain must put the heart back into Christmas  by putting digital devices to one side for Christmas after a survey commissioned by Traidcraft as part of its Show You Care campaign revealed 24 per cent of UK adults check emails on Christmas Day and 66 per cent, two-thirds, believe Christmas has lost its true meaning. 

Dr Sentamu, who has nearly 60,000 followers on Twitter, said: "Christmas is a day of good news, a day of great joy and a day to give thanks. I would encourage all those not working on Christmas Day to focus on connecting with family and friends, to enjoy this time with loved ones. I love using social media and email because of the instant connection with the world they bring but have a 'phone fast' from work on this day."

The Traidcraft survey results also showed that more than three-quarters of people prefer a hand-written Christmas card above all else.

A similar amount, more than seven in ten, said spending time with family and friends was the one most important thing to them about Christmas. Around six in 10 people said they would call in on someone lonely for a cuppa to show them they care.

Larry Bush, Traidcraft marketing director, said: "Our recent survey shows the busy lives people today are living, with nearly a quarter of us checking our work emails on Christmas Day. We asked people whether they felt Christmas had lost its true meaning and almost seven in 10 said it had. At Traidcraft, our Show You Care campaign is all about bringing some of the simplicity back to this time of year and remembering what it's really a celebration of.

"This Christmas, we're encouraging people to take a moment and think about what they can do to make a difference. We can keep the Christmas spirit alive by being there for each other and helping people in the world's poorest countries so they can work their way out of poverty and create better, more sustainable lives for their families and communities."

Earlier this week, writing in Radio Times, Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines urged familes to put down their mobile devices, "live in the moment" and watch television. "Whether you're joining in a carol service from a distance, watching an imaginative retelling of the Christmas story, debating the merits of Dickensian or the latest relationship catastrophe in EastEnders, the telly still has the power to bring us together... and gives us the perfect excuse to ditch the personal devices and enjoy a digital detox."