Friday, December 25, 2009
What will Christmas be like one hundred year from now? An unknown author pondered this question one hundred years ago in an article carried in newspapers across North Dakota. He predicted that on Christmas of 2009, men will travel through the air as commonly as they travel on land, and a vast subterranean network will carry traffic rapidly from one location to another in tunnels or pneumatic tubes.
The author correctly envisioned that in the 21st Century, Christmas shopping could be done by wire or with a wireless device. The shopper then might use a telescopic or moving picture machine attached to a telephone to see the store displays, and orders would be taken by phone. A hundred Santa Clauses will then set out from their shops in airships laden with these gifts to be delivered on Christmas Eve.
The author also foresaw that the Christmas tree will be an electrical wonder. “Festoons of wreaths of rainbow colored lights and chasers will scintillate from its green branches, but the presents will be even more wonderful.” He predicted dolls as large as little girls that can walk, talk and even sing beautiful songs; teddy bears and toy dogs that are mechanical marvels. The Rover dog will be life size and will prance about on four furry legs, lie down and roll over at the bidding of his master.
For the apartment dwellers, Christmas dinner may be obtained by the push of a button and come up noiselessly on a mechanical waiter. After dinner some sort of mechanical dish washer will take care of the dishes or they will be made of a cheap composition and be destroyed after a one-time use. To go out for the evening on Christmas Day in 2009, one only needs to enter the pneumatic tube and be whisked away, or perhaps some will prefer to stay home and watch a performance through a device connected through the telephone.
He stated that the most imaginative man cannot possibly conceive of the new things that will be invented. Power may be taken from the sun’s rays or even the wind.
Although the author envisioned pneumatic tubes for traveling and airships for everyone and also the end of trains and automobiles, many of his predictions for Christmas of 2009 were almost uncanny. So, on this Christmas Day, amid the rapidly changing technology, can you imagine what Christmas will be like one hundred years from today?
One final prediction. He wrote that whether it is a hundred years from now or a thousand, we may be sure that when the Christmas season comes, the world will be full of the Christmas spirit. May we also hopefully predict that there will be peace on earth?
Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis
The Edinburg Tribune December 24, 1909