The cross : This year, families will not be able to gather around large tables. Is it a good idea to share a meal using video conferencing tools to keep in touch, especially with grandparents?
Yann Leroux : It can be a good idea, as long as people are used to using these tools. Otherwise, it is most likely to be a source of stress. If all the members of the family feel comfortable with this kind of technology and if all agree to use them during the Christmas dinner, then yes, this use can be interesting to live together a Christmas from a distance.
However, it is necessary to limit the number of participants, because this can quickly turn into cacophony. Not to mention that the connections are not always of good quality and that some may not be able to follow the conversations.
→ MAINTENANCE. Covid-19: how to live a Christmas from a distance with grandparents?
If we can’t connect with each other during the meal, we can always do so at dessert time or in the evening. Videoconferencing tools thus make it possible to have news from everyone, including the extended family, who cannot always be brought together at Christmas. And when grandparents don’t know how to use these technologies, there is still the good old phone that can be put on the speaker for a conversation.
The mistake would be to try to do with digital as without digital, because we cannot share a meal while being connected. Families have become accustomed to eating synchronously, much like in Korea where some film themselves eating so that other single people can eat while watching someone. But it remains a distant meal.
For gifts, on the other hand, it’s easier …
YL : Probably yes. For once, we will have an “unboxing” session (unboxing of gifts on the Internet, Editor’s note) really smart and useful for something! To avoid there being too much noise, I recommend appointing a project manager who organizes the course of the evening and a single person to open the gifts. Otherwise, it may be difficult to follow from a distance!
→ READ. Covid-19: How to prepare children for such a special Christmas?
I think families will do this remote gift unwrapping spontaneously, either live or asynchronously on WhatsApp family groups. I have no doubt that they will share selfies of their happy faces in front of the gifts.
Can these tools make up for the absence?
YL : Yes, clearly. If we still ask the question, it is because there is resistance to fully integrating digital technology into our lifestyles. But we know that the relationships built with remote tools are as good, as reliable and as rewarding as face-to-face relationships.
→ READ. Our dossier on Christmas 2020
This is all the more true in the case of a family celebration where the links already exist. It is just a matter of finding a way to alleviate the very specific current circumstances and it would be a shame to do without.