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Arkansas families going virtual for holiday celebrations



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — This Christmas will be unlike one most people have experienced before, with many families not able to be together because of travel restrictions and social distancing due to the only ongoing pandemic.

“I don’t think anyone knew what Zoom was this time last year, but now we all do. We’re wandering around this store, and we’re seeing that there are so many options for us,” Stuart Reid said.

Stuart Reid was in Best Buy Monday (Dec. 21), seeing what they needed to upgrade their technology for their virtual Christmas. He lives in Fayetteville but is from London, England.

“We want to try and make Christmas as normal as it usually is. Normally my parents would travel over here and spend Christmas with us, and now they can’t do that. We are looking at ways of setting up a camera, setting up a laptop, or setting up an iPhone so we can have them just watch them unwrap the presents,” he said.

From FaceTime on your iPhone, iPad or MacBook, to Zoom on any device with a camera, there are many ways to connect. Technology experts say most are as simple as answering a phone call making it pretty easy for people who aren’t that familiar with the technology.

“If you can use some form of technology, we can usually walk you through how to use some of this newer technology. A lot of companies like Google and Amazon have made it a point to make their products really innovative and easy to use, so that everyone can use them,” Jazmine Carroll said.

Jazmine Carroll is the computer supervisor at Best Buy in Little Rock. She says there are so many options for people to connect virtually. While most of these products aren’t new, everyone’s focus changed to the cameras on the technology because that’s now their most important feature for many people.

“A lot of people are missing that human interaction that they are so used to, and so we are helping them kind of mend that and find ways to still be able to celebrate has been really great and nice to see a lot of people smiling and happy that although there are a lot of things going on they are still able to find some joy,” she said.