Can't gather with friends and family in person this holiday season? While the pandemic may stop you from meeting face to face, applications like Google Meet, Zoom, and Skype will let you enjoy time together while staying apart.

We want all our residents to have a fun and memorable holiday. So we have prepared some helpful pieces of advice for you that range from picking the best platform to suggesting festive activities that would make this year special.


Getting Started

Most video conferencing platforms are free and only require you to sign up with a valid email address. Both Zoom and Google Meet are limited to 100 participants and work well on both a desktop and mobile device. However, with Zoom, meetings are limited to 40 minutes only. In the meantime, Google Meet has no time limit, but attendees will need to sign into their Google account to join the meeting. Lastly, while Skype usually works flawlessly when talking person to person, this application doesn't function well with several attendees.  

Once you have picked your platform, you can create a meeting time immediately or schedule one for a later date. In order to ensure that everyone can attend, you can contact your guests to work out a mutually suitable party time. Then, you can either send them the meeting link or have the platform send invitations directly to your guests.


Planning Activities

Hosting a holiday gathering can be over dinner, after dinner, or throughout the afternoon. If you plan on eating dinner during the meeting, make sure your camera and microphones are close by so everyone can see and hear each other. If you're exchanging gifts, take turns opening so that everyone has an opportunity to see whatever everyone gets.

After the meal and gifts, try playing some virtual games this holiday season. This online Charades generator can help you think of ideas and keep score. Other fun activities include Virtual Holiday Bingo, holding a cookie decorating contest, or a Christmas scavenger hunt.


Ending the Meeting

It can be hard to wrap up a fun party, so our suggestion is to say something like: "Let's play one last game before we sign off," to signal the party will end soon. Alternatively, you can have all the guests agree on which movie to watch after the party, then sign off and enjoy the movie independently.