I have two young daughters, ages 2 and 6, and we live at least a thousand miles from the nearest grandparent. This distance, unfortunately, has brought a surprising amount of stress to the lives of the poor grandparents, who long for closer relationships with their grandchildren. The telephone just hasn't been an adequate tool for sustaining meaningful, loving relationships.

Earlier this year, one of the grandparents took the plunge and purchased a MacBook, with its included iChat functionality and iSight camera, and—lucky me!—picked up a second one for our home. Ever since, we've been engaging in twice-weekly video conversations, and Grandma and Grandpa can now enjoy reading bedtime stories to their granddaughters or just chime in to talk about my 6-year-old's day at school. We recently involved the MacBook in our Thanksgiving dinner, as well as the costume-preparation minutes before embarking on Halloween trick-or-treating. The grandparents felt totally involved. Hey, it ain't the same as a hug, but it can be pretty close! Think of it as a digital embrace.

This technology, to me, is what the connected home is all about. I find myself increasingly drawn into the world of the MacBook, experimenting with its renowned photo- and video-manipulation tools. I'm amazed by the sheer array of personal, family-oriented technologies that can suck up my time! Truly, technology is cramming itself into the home, and our holidays will be all the richer for it.