Since the government tightened its Christmas lockdown rules, many of us are facing up to spending the big day away from relatives or loved ones. Thankfully, the humble video call – that staple of 2020 – will once again come to our aid, with forecasters expecting a huge surge in people logging into Zoom or Teams on Christmas Day.
Of course, it’s a different prospect getting family members set up on Microsoft Teams than doing so for your colleagues who may be slightly more tech savvy – so here’s how to ensure Christmas catch ups go without a hitch.
First, choose your software in advance – so everyone has plenty of time to get up to speed. The last thing you want is to burn your turkey because you’ve walked Uncle Frank through the Zoom setup process for 45 minutes. Get everyone agreed and logged in beforehand, and even run a test meeting in the days leading up to Christmas, so everyone feels confident using the tech.
You should also give some thought to what platform you want to use in the first place. FaceTime might be the easiest if everyone has Apple devices, but will be thrown out of sync if you have an Android user in your midst. Alternatively, Zoom has been a popular choice so may be the most well known. What’s more, the company recently announced it will scrap the 40-minute limit for users of the free model throughout the festive period.
Finally, consider some games to make it feel traditional even if you can’t be there in person. Tools such as Houseparty have games built in, or you have mobile games like Psych which saw download numbers rocket during lockdown. Elsewhere, netgames.io has proved a popular resource, and is easy to use because participants don’t need to sign up or download anything to play.
As before, get everyone up to speed on the games before you begin, and it’ll feel like you’re in the room even if you’re hundreds of miles apart.