The holiday season is upon us, and with that so are many of the sights and sounds we’re all so used to at this time of year. There are plenty of things to look forward to this holiday season. It could be the changing weather, the hot deals, and discounts, or the seasonal drinks at Starbucks.
For many people, however, the best part of the holiday season is getting some quality time with family and friends. This time could be a big Thanksgiving dinner at grandma’s, unwrapping presents in the comfort of your home, or heading over to your friend’s holiday party. It’s no secret that this next month and a half can be jam-packed with things to do. But for some people, this year’s holidays still look a lot like 2020s.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some families are having to resort to virtual holiday celebrations, or at the very least, tech-enabled modifications. If this sounds like your family, don’t fret. We are going to break down all the best ways to use tech to engage with your friends and family this holiday season.
Best for Direct Communication
One of the best ways to keep in touch is to directly communicate, even when you are not in person. This can be as simple as texting, or as elaborate as video calls. Some of the best communications apps to use are:
- Zoom - The butt of many jokes and advertising quips, Zoom is one of the top video-calling apps on the market. All you have to do is download the app, set up a meeting, and send your friends and family the link. You can set recurring meetings, share your screens, type to chat, and see everyone at once in the gallery view.
- Facetime - With the new updates to Apple’s operating systems, Apple users can facetime with non-Apple users. With just the push of a button or the sending of a link, you can start a video call to anyone on your contact list.
- WhatsApp - If you have family around the world but want to be able to text them instantly, WhatsApp is a great app to use. This messaging app is free and easy to use, and it can send messages over WiFieven when traveling abroad. Now you never have to worry about international phone plans or roaming charges. All you need is WiFi and you can text your family group chats instantly.
Best for Keeping Up and Reaching Out Indirectly
In this modern era, it’s easier than ever to keep up with your loved ones, even if you can’t carve out time to talk in person or on the phone. Here are some of the best apps to use to keep up indirectly:
- Instagram and Facebook - These social media giants are staples in keeping up with your friends and family. You can see the pictures they are posting and what they’re up to, maybe a Thanksgiving meal, or a house decorated in Christmas lights. You can like and leave comments on their posts like a holiday greeting. You can even watch their IG and Facebook Stories to see what kinds of things they are interested in and what kind of information they want to help spread. You can also send posts and information directly to loved ones you think might enjoy the content. This includes funny videos, cooking recipes, social justice campaigns, and more!
- Spotify - A music app? That’s right. Spotify has invested lots of time and resources to be more than just a music streaming app. They offer a chance to really connect with someone over music. You can see what your friends and family are listening to. You can create collaborative playlists where multiple people can add songs. This is a perfect option for holiday playlists. One of the best things you can do though is using Spotify Blends. This feature lets you send a link to a friend or family member, and once they open it, Spotify creates a blended playlist of songs you each listen to, songs that you might like from the other person, and songs neither of you knows that fit right into your musical tastes.
- GamePigeon - If you have an iPhone and are looking for a quick way to keep a connection with someone, look no further than GamePigeon games. Sent directly through text messages, you can play games like Battleship, pool, mini-golf, Connect Four, and more with your loved ones on your own time. Simply start the game and then you each take alternating turns when you get a chance to respond.
Best Gadgets to Get
With all the different tech gear and gadgets available, it can be hard to pick which ones will be best for staying connected to your family. Luckily we have a few suggestions:
- Apple iPad - Whether it’s a first-generation or the newest model, iPads offer a great and mobile way to use some of the tech we’ve already mentioned. You can use it to do all the direct and indirect communication we’ve talked about, but with a much bigger screen and a pretty long battery life. With a whole host of other capabilities, you can stay connected to the rest of your world too.
- Xbox/Playstation - One of the biggest communities in the world today is the online gaming one. If you and your loved ones play video games or want to start, be sure to grab a console. When playing together online, you can talk using headsets and mics, work as a team, and see when the other person is online so you never miss each other.
- Facebook Portal - Facebook’s smart video calling device, the Portal lets you video call handsfree. The camera follows you and the device responds to your voice. With several different offerings, find the Portal that is right for you.
So, even if your holidays might look a little different this year, don’t let them feel different. With just a few clicks, you can use tech to stay connected with your family and friends and wish them a happy holiday season from all of us here at Moser Consulting.
Also, check out our podcast about Thanksgiving Holiday Traditions our employees shared with us for some great ideas of how to connect over the holidays!