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8 ways to make video calls more festive – and stay connected throughout Christmas Day

Christmas is going to be a largely online affair this year, but it can still be festive, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for a video call.

Due to increased pandemic restrictions, many of us will sadly be having our Christmas get-togethers online this year – but there are ways to make these calls fun, festive and meaningful on the big day.

When you can’t hug and celebrate with all your friends and family in person, here are a few ways to stay connected over Christmas…

1. Choose a festive background

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You might have put your ski holiday on hold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the après ski vibe into your living room. On Zoom you can choose a picture for your virtual background – so why not pretend you’re in a wooden chalet with a fire roaring behind you? It’s a great excuse to bring out your bobble hat and drink some glühwein.

2. Virtually open presents together

Be it stockings first thing, or main presents after Christmas dinner, you can still share the moment when the wrapping paper goes flying.

3. Go to town with tinsel

Show off your best baubles, tinsel and candy canes by creating a mini mood board. Cover some cardboard with Christmas wrapping paper and pin glittery tinsel from corner to corner as if it were a garland – and hang your favourite decos from it. To make it extra special, pin the Christmas card you received from your nan (or whoever it is you’re chatting to) front and centre, so they feel right at home with you.

4. Get the family to dress up in Christmas elf outfits

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This is a great way to get the kids involved – if only for a few minutes. Fashion elf hats and ears out of paper and dress the little ones in green tunics – it’ll be all smiles when you wish everyone a happy Christmas online.

5. Prep Christmas dinner simultaneously

We’re all going to be chopping parsnips, whipping up cranberry sauce and wrangling with the turkey/nut roast to some degree. So why not throw on your Christmas apron, prop up your phone and get to work while Facetiming your mum/brother/best mate as they get the oven on too? You can let your chat running all through lunch too.

6. Perfect your playlist

Play Christmas carols and festive favourites together. We could all do with a dance right now. Hopefully your laptop has some good speakers…

7. Pile the presents high and read a Christmas story

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One for grandparents, when you’ve gone to all the effort of making your pressies look beautiful with red ribbons, bows and gift tags galore, think about strategically placing them around you and staging your own festive bedtime story session with the grandkids. Better still, pull up a chair in front of the tree and pop your laptop in full view of the pine needles and goodies underneath. Then get to reading A Christmas Carol, or How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

8. Time your TV watching

So much of Christmas Day is spent in front of the telly, just this year you’ll be in different houses. But you can still chat all the way through the EastEnders special if your phones are on, or sync up your Netflix account and watch Nativity! simultaneously.

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