Un-Tech the Halls
“Un-Tech the Halls,” an Adventures in Odyssey Club exclusive, is episode #800 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Kathy Buchanan, and was originally released on December 1, 2016.
The Parkers decide to unplug their gadgets and make family memories by searching for a Christmas tree.
Eva Parker calls out, “Time for dinner!” No one answers. It seems that everyone is using some kind of electronic device. Matthew is playing a video game, Olivia is listening to music, Camilla is texting her friends, and even David is watching a football game on TV. Eventually, everyone arrives for dinner, but because of the wait, the chicken is cold and the dumplings are soggy. Matthew suggests ordering out for pizza. “Or,” Eva returns, “we could put down our phones and remotes, and get to the table quicker!” She notes that the “gadget use” in the house is getting a bit out of control. She then asks David to bless the food, but he’s oblivious and doesn’t respond. He is watching the game on his phone. Matthew prays instead, and the family begins eating. Suddenly, Camilla remembers that Grandma Lucia drove up into the driveway earlier, but she didn’t bother to knock or let herself in! Flustered and worried, Eva runs to the door, only to find Lucia standing on the porch – posting on her social network. She comes in, and immediately posts about that too. The kids chime in on how she had posted things about them – somewhat embarrassing things –, but David tells them to let up — until he remembers that she posted about his car trouble, too. Eva declares that it’s the holiday season; they should be socializing, and not on their phones. Suddenly, David has an inspiration boost: cutting down a Christmas tree! So it is resolved – a tech-free outing.
After everyone piles into the van (and grandma is caught for hiding her phone in her water bottle), the Parker family sets off. The family decides to pass the time by singing Christmas carols — to the chagrin of Matthew and Olivia. Eventually, the mood changes to telling stories — of how grandma survived without a cordless phone when growing up. Eva spots the perfect spot for tree hunting: an off-road path. The car turns, and the family trudges on. Eventually, Eva finds the perfect grove of trees. David parks the car, and the Parkers disembark. After a dozen tries, Matthew gets bored and starts teasing Camilla with her greatest fear – an evergreen tree limb. Camilla flees, but slips and rolls down a slope! Fortunately, she is unharmed, and even admits that she found it to be fun! Soon, the whole family is slip-sliding away. But all of a sudden, Camilla rolls into a tree... the perfect Christmas tree! David cuts it down, and the family drags it up the hill. David tells Matthew to get the rope from the car. Matthew responds that he forgot to bring it, so the family improvises by tying their belts together with their socks. They load the tree on the van and set off. After driving for some distance, looking for the main road, the car slips and falls into a ditch. Unfortunately, since no one can contact a tow truck, they’re stuck for the night.
Time passes, with no food, and the girls start making plans for their respective funerals. Matthew says there’s no need; there’s food in the car — granola bars and cheese sticks (and grandma’s fruitcake) stuck under the seats. After some prying, Eva learns that the kids have been stuffing the parts of their lunch they don’t like under the seat cushions. They simply reply that they learned it from grandma. The car is getting cold, so Eva asks David to get out and grab grandma’s Christmas gift from the trunk. When he returns, Lucia opens it – it’s a quilt! After some snuggling, David glances out and sees all of the stars in the sky. He coaxes the family to get out. The family stargazes for some time, and Camilla spots a shooting star — two shooting stars — coming right towards them. “Those are headlights, kids!” David remarks. It’s Mr. Whittaker! After some late ice fishing, he was finally driving back home, and only happy to take the family back home. The Parkers arrive to food, warmth, and electronics. Olivia makes a resolution — she’s going to take a break from social media. Everyone concurs: the most important thing for their family is not to look at social media, but to focus on each other, doing family activities together.
|David Parker||Marc Evan Jackson|
|Eva Parker||Amanda Troop|
|Matthew Parker||Justin Felbinger|
|Olivia Parker||Kelly Stables|
|Camilla Parker||Michaela Dean|
|Lucia Ortega||Lucki Wheating|
|John Whittaker||Andre Stojka|
- This episode's title is a parody of the title of the Christmas carol "Deck the Halls".
- In this episode, Camilla has an pet hamster named Lucy.
- Several social networks were spoofed in this episode: FaceSpace (Facebook/MySpace), Interest (Pinterest), and Chittering (Twitter).
- The Parkers travel to Forest Mountain for their tree.
- Several lines were cut from this episode.
- When David checks the car after it slides into a ditch:
Olivia: I can’t believe this.
- When Matthew pulls granola bars out from under his seat:
Lucia: I’ll take the extra. Having an artificial hip is like eating for two.
Olivia: Um... we might have a second course too. I stuck some oranges under the seat.
- What family traditions do you look forward to most at Christmastime? How do you keep Jesus at the center of your celebration?
- Psalm 100:2 says, “Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before his presence with singing.” Eva asked everyone if they had a favorite Christmas carol. What’s yours?
- What did you think of Eva’s decision to have the family go tech-free for a day? Have you ever tried doing that? What would be the most challenging part?
- Olivia, Matthew and Camilla are blessed to have their Grandma Lucia living in town. Do your grandparents live nearby or far away? How do you feel about that?
- What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?
- Take a moment to read Acts 20:35. The Parkers were excited to give Lucia a special quilt. What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever given to someone?
- What special ministry opportunities happen in your church around the holidays? Has your family ever participated in them? If so, share memories of those experiences. If not, consider taking part this year, giving a present to Jesus by helping others (Matthew 25:40).
- Does your family prefer live Christmas trees or artificial ones? Why? Have you ever cut down your own tree like the Parkers did? If so, what do you remember about that?
- Camilla needed to conquer a fear that resulted from a little accident. Do you have any phobias? If so, where do you think they came from? What steps can you take to overcome them, remembering Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13?
Eva Parker: <at dinner> The gadget use in our house in getting a little out of control. Don’t you agree, David?
David Parker: Oh, I can’t believe it!
Eva Parker: Uh, yeah. Do you want to go ahead and pray for us, honey?
David Parker: YES!
Eva Parker: Thanks... <long pause> David? David!!
David Parker: Hmm? I’m sorry, what?
Eva Parker: You’re still watching the game??
Camilla Parker: Grandma, you’re not posting about us, are you?
Lucia Ortega: Oh, just the food, honey; though my friends do think you all are very entertaining.
Matthew Parker: Yeah, you told them my haircut looked like a dead animal.
Camilla Parker: And that I went to school with my shirt on inside-out!
Olivia Parker: And that I dropped my phone into the toilet.
David Parker: Okay, leave your grandmother alone, kids. She doesn’t mean any harm by it. Your embarrassing moments increase her popularity.
Olivia Parker: Dad, she also posted about how you added transmission fluid into the radiator.
David Parker: You told everyone that??
Lucia Ortega: I... I got more than fifty likes on that one. Everybody thought it was hilarious! And my mechanic friend posted it on his blog: “Me-can’t-ics.” Get it? “Can’t” because... you can’t!