Turkey & tablets: 72% of Americans will attend a virtual holiday celebration this year

NEW YORK — If only there was a way to pass the stuffing over WiFi. Americans are still planning on seeing their loved ones this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be meeting them in person. A new survey of 2,000 Americans finds that 72 percent are planning on attending at least one virtual holiday party this year.

Unbelievably, 68 percent say they’re actually going to “attend” more holiday parties this year than they would have during a normal holiday season. A significant 37% are going to attend three or more Thanksgiving dinners this year. Similarly, 52% will virtually say hello to three or more Christmas parties.

Indeed, between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, 60 percent of respondents say virtual parties are the “new normal.” Predictably, 93% cite COVID-19 as their main or partial motivator for avoiding in-person parties this year.

Virtual holidays allows for more guests than usual

Put together by Asurion Home+, the survey also reports that the average online holiday party this year will last roughly two hours and include around 11 people. Notably, 69 percent will be seeing more relatives and in-laws than usual this year. Another 47 percent expect to reconnect with someone whom they haven’t spoken with in a long time. On average, respondents plan on seeing a long lost family member or friend they haven’t seen in four years.

This year has been anything but status quo, but according to this research Americans are doing their best to maintain their holiday traditions. Over half (56%) say they’ve been forced to “get creative” regarding usual holiday traditions. For instance, 76 percent are going to cook holiday recipes with friends virtually.

Other planned virtual activities include talking/catching up, sending well wishes, toasting the New Year, eating Thanksgiving dinner, and singing Christmas carols. Others plan on holding a religious celebration or tradition, unwrapping presents, shopping online together for gifts, and lighting candles.

“This year as COVID prevents many extended families from celebrating together in person, video celebrations will play a crucial role in keeping them connected for the holidays. But as we know, tech doesn’t always work when we need it to. It will be important for families to prep their tech to ensure their video celebrations will run smoothly – so they can stay focused on what matters most, rather than fretting about their devices,” says Sarah Day, VP of Marketing at Asurion.

Even in 2020, some people are still unplugged

Unfortunately, 45 percent say they know of at least one loved one who won’t be able to attend a digital get-together this year. As far as why that’s the case, some say their loved ones don’t know how to use technology (37%). Others say their family members don’t have access to the internet (33%) or just don’t have the right devices (31%).

Those problems may be gone by next year, though, as 36 percent plan on buying their family members some new technology this year.

This survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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