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Virtual Holidays


Many people find themselves wondering whether or not they will see their loved ones during the holiday season. The current pandemic, along with restrictions in some States, will make it difficult for many to travel and be with their families. We can take a cue from businesses and the way they are coping with the pandemic. Virtual meetings have taken the place of all but the most crucial get-togethers.

We need to communicate with our families, but texting or a phone call doesn't seem like enough. Video chats or conferencing is the solution chosen by many businesses and can fill the void left by not being able to see family members. Now we need to decide on a platform.

We will look at free options since no one wants to pay to talk to their annoying brother-in-law. There are several platforms available, each with unique features. Check out the options below to determine which is right for you.

Zoom offers a free plan with a 40-minute time limit. 100 participants are allowed.

Facebook Messenger or FaceTime are options for those with a Facebook account. Facebook Messenger allows you to create groups with up to 50 participants.

Google Hangouts allows up to 25 participants and requires a Google account.

Microsoft Teams recently announced that it is allowing calls to friends and family that last up to 24 hours and include up to 300 participants. The person initiating the call will need a Microsoft account.

Houseparty allows up to 8 participants and lets you play games while visiting with the rest of your group.

Skype (now owned by Microsoft) is the senior member of the platforms listed and has improved dramatically over the years. Skype works on many devices and allows up to 50 participants in a video room.

Blizz by TeamViewer allows up to 5 participants in its free version. The service offers unique options along with scheduling features.

The participant limits for each platform is for its free version, and each has specific sign-up requirements. Review the features for each to determine which one meets your virtual holiday needs.

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