Family Zooms and COVID Holidays

by Fiona Joy Green and Jaqueline McLeod Rogers

Oh what a year it’s been with COVID-19 raging around the world and in our communities. We’ve been responding and pivoting to the ever changing demands of trying to stay safe for months now. For many of us over the holidays, this has meant keeping to ourselves separate from family members and friends we usually spend offline time with. Many of us have turned to Zoom to connect as part of our subdued celebrations. Some family members have warmed up to this format — together yet apart — so that there is some control over family talk. Others attempt to be good sports, cringing off camera and trying to stay on the sidelines.

The question is, is Zooming going to find a place in our family repertoires beyond this season? People used to say that they got together using WhatsApp or Skype, but in pre-covid times these were options many of us rejected. We wanted the real thing or nothing. And such expectations seemed fair. So our question is whether our expectations have changed, and are we now prepared en masse to meet on Zoom?

We’ve seen platforms come and go – My Space, the Vine, and now Facebook is fast fading and are replaced with others, such as Tiktok, Will we find a better, faster Zoom or will we go back to being together in person?

We can think of the Christmas tree once lit by wax candles, and now real or artificial, lit by electric bulbs. This helps us to see that there are changes, but exactly what they’ll be and how we adapt remains to be seen. And Zoom is not like the telephone — something that changed everything. Rather, we’ll see if Zoom is a port in the storm — a stopgap that some find unsavoury and unsafe — or if it remains a desirable and a relatively affordable destination where some families will choose to gather.

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