Explaining tech terms to your family this Christmas

Christmas is traditionally a time for family and friends, but as an IT Pro it can all too often be a time for trying to explain exactly what you do to your confused extended family. There’s only so many times you can tolerate being asked, ‘what is it you do exactly?’ - then as soon as you reply, being roped into another personal tech support role.

To help you cope, here are some typical terms you might use with other techies to explain what you do - with a Christmas twist. We’ve made this into a checklist so for a bit of fun you can check them off when you’ve dropped any of these into a conversation.

Feature Detection

A way of shaking, feeling and fiddling with wrapped presents to guess what is inside them.


Unit testing

The awful present you buy someone because you feel like you should.



The person who carves the turkey and shares out the presents from under the tree.



When you’re asleep on the sofa and cannot be connected with in any way. This could also be used to explain Downtime!



The clean up and tidying process you have to go through before the family arrives.


When you send your letter to Santa and you’re waiting patiently for a reply.



Disguising your gifts with weird shaped packaging, shoeboxes or bubble wrap, so that no one can work out what it is!




The elastic wasted trousers that become standard Christmas attire as your waistband grows from all of the sweets and Christmas dinner.



The fifth pair of socks, or fourth Lynx gift pack you have received from your aunt/cousin/grandparents/extended relation

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