With the holidays and a rise in COVID cases seeming determined to collide with one another, a lot of folks are looking for ways to see their family remotely next week for Thanksgiving, rather than getting together in person. It might not be as much fun, and your gravy might not be as good as grandma’s, but not visiting is a choice a lot of folks are making. But even if you can’t taste grandma’s gravy, you still want to see her. There are a lot of online video call options, and I’m going to go over a few of them here, and hopefully one of them will work out for you and any family members you won’t be able to see in person this holiday season.

Back near the beginning of the pandemic, our very own Elizabeth made some step-by-step instructions for how to set up a Zoom account and have a basic meeting. A lot of us have been using this already for work and other meetings, so you might already have the software set up, and the free account will get you that video call to whoever you’re missing. Check out those instructions here.

If you have an iPhone and the person you are calling has an iPhone, there’s nothing simpler than using FaceTime, Apple’s built in video calling. You simply make sure the person you are calling is in your contacts, and rather than hitting the call button, choose FaceTime instead. The person you’re calling answers just as they normally would, and you’re talking face-to-face!

Google Meet
Lots of folks have Google accounts already, and if both you and who you want to video call have accounts, then Google Meet is pretty darn simply. You can download the app for Android or Apple devices or just head over to the Meet website. I tried out this second way, and it was easy as pie. (Mmm. Pie. A Thanksgiving must.)

It’s just a matter of clicking New meeting and then Copying the link and emailing it to whoever you want to talk to. Follow the online prompts to make sure you connect your camera and mic, and you’re good to go.

Does anyone else remember when this was the option for video calling? Well guess what—it’s still out there and easy to use. You can download the Skype app on your computer or phone, either Android or Apple. Or you have a newer computer with Microsoft’s browser, Edge, you can call using that browser with no download or account.

With the apps, both parties need a Skype account, but in Edge, it’s as simple as going to the Skype website and saying you want to Create a free video call, Create a free meeting, and then emailing the link to whoever you want to talk to so they can join the meeting!

Also, if you need some equipment help for reaching out during the holidays, the library has some stuff for that as well. We now have a webcam and several hotspots if you need WiFi. We hope you have a happy and safe holiday, however it is you decide to celebrate.


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