Your holidays may look different compared to last year, but don’t let that stop you from spending quality time online with your friends and family! Digital family reunions are one perfect way to communicate with loved ones over the holidays. Here are some ideas for a beautiful virtual family reunion for those who have never had one before.
Set the right expectations
It’s normal for in-person meetings to tell people to come over whenever it suits them and manage the day as it unfolds. However, this can’t be done with a virtual meeting. It is essential for virtual gatherings that you set clear expectations about the event. Make sure that everyone knows when the event starts so that everyone turns up on time. Speak ahead of time about the schedule, and ensure that your family has time to plan something.
It’s a good idea to set a plan before the virtual family reunion and schedule any holiday activities. You should draw up a schedule of the events and give them ahead of time to your family. During the meeting, everyone will know what to expect and be prepared for any activities you’ve scheduled.
Have a dress rehearsal
To prevent tension and frustration on the day, you should have a test meeting a few days before the reunion. This could be with one person from each household. Doing so will help you sort out any technical problems. Family members who may not know how to sign in, turn their camera on or off, or unmute their mic, so this gives you and others a chance to iron out any technical issues before the big day.
Don’t forget your family traditions.
Are there any holiday rituals in your family? There are still ways to honor this online.
If your family plays games during the holidays, you can try an online game. Check out the company ‘Jackbox’ for a whole suite of these games.
Set aside some time in the schedule to listen to some music together if you enjoy listening to holiday songs.
If you love to dress up for the holidays, challenge your family to come to the best of their holiday, or find a perfect holiday jumper for the reunion to wear.
Share recipes online
You’re not going to be able to share holiday food in the same way as last year, so why not make it more enjoyable? Ask family members to make a particular dish if sharing food is a meaningful part of your family traditions. You may choose a food type or a theme and turn it into a contest. During the call, each person can share their creation and even share the recipe.
Hearing loss and video calls
There are a few ways you can make it easier to hear what’s being said if you have someone in your family who struggles to hear. These tips are great for family members who are hard of hearing and family members who can hear clearly.
- For your virtual family reunion, use closed captioning software to include live subtitles.
- Make sure each member of the family sets up their video in a well-lit space so that you can see the faces of everyone quickly.
- Remind everyone to use a big screen if possible, such as a laptop or TV. It is more challenging to see the whole party attending the meeting from a smartphone.
- Tell your family to talk in turns, and stop interrupting one another. Taking turns makes it much simpler to follow what is said.
- Please remind everyone to talk clearly, but not shout. Speaking too loudly can distort sounds and make conversations more difficult to understand.
Gifts for those with hearing loss
A family member with hearing loss will appreciate any technology that helps them reconnect with their loved ones. You can plan for the gift to arrive before your virtual family reunion so that your loved one can hear better during the event.
An assistive listening device is a great choice. These can connect to the television, computer, or phone and directly stream the audio to the ears.
If you know someone with a hearing loss, encourage them to seek treatment! We’re here to help. We may not be able to be together in person right now, but great hearing is a gift that keeps on giving, whether you’re reconnecting with family members online or in person.