Millions of people will celebrate Christmas over Zoom again this year

With or without Omicron, a significant portion of Brits were already planning celebrate the holidays over video conference, new research suggests.

Surveying 2,023 UK adults for the report, networking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) found that 11% expect to use live-streaming apps to connect with their friends and family during Christmas and the New Year, as compared with 12% last year.

While keeping in touch with friends and family over digital platforms is a necessary evil for more than a third (37%), almost the same proportion (34%) say the technology helped them feel included when they were unable to participate in-person last time round. A further 28% said it helped them feel connected, which is particularly important during the holiday season.

A digital Christmas

As a result of the pandemic, the use of live-streaming and video conferencing services is on the rise, with Facebook Messenger, FaceTime and Zoom all attracting more users than before.

However, connectivity issues are hampering their experience, the report suggests, with a quarter of people encountering fuzzy or low-quality pictures, or video freezes.

Part of the problem, GWS hints, lies with the telecoms sector. Of all the users that have suitable devices (e.g. a decent mobile device, webcam and headset), a third (33%) do not have adequate speeds to watch or broadcast an HD live-stream effectively. According to the report, a mobile device would need at least 5 Mbps download speeds and 4.5 Mbps upload. 

The report singles out O2 as attracting the fewest complaints from customers in this context. Roughly half of O2 customers (51%) did not report any issues when live-streaming, and 02 customers also had fewer issues with audio and picture quality.

For those suffering from connectivity issues, 5G could roll out just in time to save the day. More than a quarter (28%) of Brits are excited about the launch of 5G, with a fifth (22%) seeing it as important for keeping in touch with their loved ones.  

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The best Christmas Zoom backgrounds to help you get into the festive spirit

Many holiday celebrations will take place over video conference again this year, which means plenty of people will be on the hunt for an excellent Christmas Zoom background.

Whether you're attending a virtual office party, present exchange or Christmas dinner, a festive background will only add to proceedings.

To help make your virtual festivities feel a little more like the real deal, we’ve compiled a selection of Christmas Zoom backgrounds that are bound to get you in the holiday spirit.

How to use Zoom backgrounds

Before picking out a Christmas Zoom background, you’ll need to know how to configure custom backgrounds on the platform. Thankfully, the process is really simple.

First, ensure the Zoom backgrounds feature is enabled in your account settings. You can do this by accessing your account page via your web browser, navigating to Settings in the left-hand bar, clicking on In Meeting (Advanced) and toggling Virtual Backgrounds to on (the slider will turn blue once the feature has been activated).

To configure your Zoom background, log into the desktop application and click on the settings icon in the top right corner. Under the Virtual Background tab, you can choose from stock options, or upload an image or video via the + icon below the video feed.

Whichever background you select in the settings panel will automatically be applied when you next log into a video conference.

For the best results, it’s important to ensure the video is bright and evenly lit. Your Christmas Zoom backgrounds won’t perform quite as well in partial darkness or glaring light, which can both result in unwelcome distortion.

Using a green screen backdrop is ideal, but impractical for many, and a plain background of any colour works perfectly well so long as your clothing isn’t the same color.

Christmas Zoom backgrounds

Thanks to a few generous elves, you're not short of options when it comes to selecting a Christmas Zoom background for your next video call.

Here’s a rundown of a few different selections you could choose from.

On the Zoom website, you can find a curated list of virtual backgrounds of all varieties. Under the Seasonal section, you’ll find a range of suitably festive options.


(Image credit: Zoom)

You’d bet your house on greetings card company Hallmark producing a fine selection of holiday-themed Zoom backgrounds – and the company has duly delivered.


(Image credit: Hallmark)

Image library Unsplash has a wide selection of wintery Zoom background options for you to choose from. You’re bound to find an option that suits you.


(Image credit: Unsplash / Annie Spratt)

Cookie Monster
Everyone’s favorite Sesame Street resident is also getting in on the act. This snap of Cookie Monster doing what he does best makes for an excellent Zoom background.

Cookie Monster

(Image credit: Sesame Workshop)

Christmas HQ
We can safely assume that the experts at Christmas HQ know plenty about cultivating holiday spirit. This classy selection of backgrounds is attractive, but not obnoxious.

Christmas HQ

(Image credit: Christmas HQ)

Frozen – The Musical
The Broadway rendition of hit movie Frozen has offered up a selection of icy Zoom backgrounds for “those of use working from our kingdoms of isolation”. That might not sound very Christmassy, but the backgrounds are rather striking all the same.

Frozen - The Musical

(Image credit: Frozen – The Musical)

Walt Disney World
Disney World has to be up there with one of the most festive places on earth, as demonstrated by this selection of Christmas Zoom backgrounds from WDW Magazine.

Walt Disney World

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

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