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About 24% of American families chose to host virtual gatherings rather than in-person ones for Thanksgiving this year. While Thanksgiving has come and gone, this number is expected to grow throughout the rest of the holiday season.
If you belong to one of the many families who are planning to celebrate a little differently this year, there are some tips and tricks you can implement to ensure that the holidays still feel fun and festive, even if they are happening behind a computer screen.
Follow these simple tips to help your family celebrate and enjoy the holidays virtually.
Ensure all family members understand how to work the technology.
It is really important to start here. While many of us have become all too familiar with Zoom over the past year, some may still be a little confused on how video conferencing works, or how to log in.
Some of your family members may be accustomed to using Skype, Google Hangout, Facebook video calls or a myriad of other options that exist today. Be sure that each family member understands which video conferencing technology you will use.
Then, make sure to check in with each family member to be sure they have the program downloaded, understand how to log in, and know how to join the party when the time comes. It may be worth it to create a “practice” event for your family members who may be less familiar with the technology.
Set a schedule – and don’t forget time zones!
For most families who choose to celebrate the holidays virtually, each household will be cooking their own food and organizing their own activities outside of the virtual gathering. It is important to set a time and a schedule for the virtual event that everyone sticks to.
Since the gathering is virtual and family members can join from anywhere on the globe, be sure to also take time zones into consideration when making plans. Be sure that all family members organize their day to be free during the designated time. Some families choose to virtually eat their meals together, which will create additional considerations for timing your events.
Keep traditions alive.
2020 has been weird, and the holidays will likely be no different. Just because life has looked different this year than planned, does not mean you need to throw your holiday traditions out of the window! For example, if every year you do a White Elephant or Secret Santa gift exchange – there are ways to continue this tradition virtually.
Research online gift exchange programs and you may be surprised with what you find! If there are certain games you always play, search online to see if there is a virtual version. Many game makers have created virtual versions of their most popular games to help us through this time.
Do you always wear matching pajamas? Buy them ahead of time this year and have each family member sport their PJs to the virtual party. Be sure to capture the moment with a screen shot of everyone enjoying the season together, it may make for a nice memory when we are finally able to gather together in person again.
Be sure to pay special attention to family members with hearing loss.
Make sure there is a plan in place for any family members that may have a hearing loss. Some hearing aids are equipped with Bluetooth technology, allowing the conversations and celebrations to be streamed directly into the wearer’s hearing aids. Others will prefer to invest in noise cancelling headphones to help amplify family members’ voice while dampening any background noise.
It might even be a good idea for your family member with a hearing loss to stream the virtual celebration on the biggest screen they have. Some TVs can be hooked up directly to a laptop, thus connecting to larger and more powerful speakers, and allowing speaker’s faces to be shown bigger on the screen, making speech easier to understand.
Hearing Wellness Solutions
Whether gathering in person or virtually, this year or in three years, hearing is an irreplaceable aspect of communication and connection. If you have noticed changes in your hearing, reach out to our friendly team at Hearing Wellness Solutions today. We would love to help you celebrate the holidays with better hearing this year.