Far-flung families can still spend time together this festive season with some planning and help from technology
Far-flung families can still spend time together this festive season with some planning and help from technology

With a bit of imagination, and lots of technology, you can reinvent holiday traditions

By The Washington Post Time of article published Dec 23, 2020

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* This article appears in our Holiday edition of the Home Improver digital magazine

Vivien Horler and The Washington Post

This Christmas my son, daughter-in-law and toddler Eric were supposed to be flying from Sydney to Cape Town to introduce Eric to his extended family.

That is, of course, no longer going to happen. There’s no question things will be different this festive season.

But with a bit of imagination, and lots of technology, far-flung families can get together and celebrate. Being in the same room might not be possible but, thanks to zoom, Skype, WhatsApp and other platforms, families can spend time together if they plan in advance. Get buy-in from everyone, set a time and find out what they’d like to do.

It helps to have a moderator who will ensure everyone is engaged and having fun, says Taryn Williford, lifestyle director at Apartment Therapy. She suggests a shared ritual such as emailing recipes for a virtual cocktail get-together or a meal.

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“Anything you can do to make a memory; this is the year to re-invent traditions.” Esther Yoon, group manager of product marketing at Zoom, has family around the world. Naturally, they’ll use Zoom to get together.

“You have a window into each other’s kitchens and can have conversations while you are cooking,” Yoon says.

“You can still see people smiling when you say what you are thankful for. You will see grandchildren, nieces and nephews and how much they have grown.”

It’s still, she says, “bonding with your family”. It will have to do. And hopefully the wait to meet Eric will make the eventual reunion n-e-x-t summer that much sweeter.

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