DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I like to host parties at our home. Nothing fancy, but we do have people over almost every weekend in the cold-weather months. In the warm-weather months, we host barbecues in our backyard. Our friends do the same, so it always seems like we are at somebody’s house swapping stories and having a good time. We are devastated that we can’t get together now. One of my friends suggested that we try creating virtual parties. I don’t have the foggiest idea how to do that. Do you have any ideas? -- Virtual Party Planning
DEAR VIRTUAL PARTY PLANNING: Yes, this is a growing trend -- a perfect match between our desire for social interaction and the use of modern technology. A popular way of doing this is by using the Zoom app, which allows you to invite multiple people to join you for a video chat so that you can talk and interact while having individual cocktails and snacks at your own home.
To set this up, you have to download the app. It can be Zoom or another such app. You then create an email invitation to your friends explaining that you want to host a virtual cocktail party. Send them the link you set up as the host. Then they simply sign in at the day and time. You can take turns hosting these virtual events as long as everybody signs up. The service is free for a limited time period. For a nominal fee, you can stay connected indefinitely.