This Christmas “Browser History” is the New “Shaking the Box”

Google Christmas

I tried to muster a look of disapproval, but I couldn’t help but smile when my 4-year-old picked up a present, sized it up, shook it a few times, and proclaimed, “I fink it’s LEGOs!” Like father, like son, another generation is carrying on the tradition of trying to figure out what’s inside those beautifully wrapped boxes.

But a few days ago, I heard a new take on the old tradition.

Standing outside her house as our kids played in the front yard, my neighbor was telling me how difficult it is to keep the legen of Santa Claus alive with her kids. She figured it would be other kids at school that would let the secret slip and ruin it for her kids, but it turned out our old friend and foe technology almost did her in this year.

Apparently her son is pretty good with computer and looked at what she called her “Google history” (I’m not sure if she meant her Google searches or something like Chrome’s History, but either way the point is the same) and he noticed that he was seeing many of the things he had written down in a letter to Santa. He asked his mom how the computer could know all the things he had told Santa he wanted that year.

Evidently, even Santa needs Amazon now and again.

Merry Christmas!

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John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary, and at night I write Bible software for countries whose leaders could be called "overlords." This one time, I wrote a book about technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at

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