Call friends and talk with family this holiday season

Tori Nonnet profile image December 8, 2023 | 3 min read

In the digital age, we appear to be more connected than ever before—just about everybody has a mobile phone tethered to their hand. Yet loneliness is epidemic today, especially during the holidays and for those who are elderly, live alone, or reside far from loved ones.

There is, however, a simple solution: Instead of using the phone for endless scrolling, use the keypad to call friends and talk with family this holiday season. The holidays are the perfect time to have a real phone convo with the people who matter to you.

Wondering what to say? Prepare for your call by making a list of interesting topics to talk about, and conversation questions you can weave in as appropriate. People love sharing what’s going on in their lives; all you have to do is express interest.

Ding-a-Ling Day

You could say you’re calling to celebrate National Ding-a-Ling Day, launched in 1972 as a campaign to encourage people to pick up the phone and reconnect with those you used to talk to often.

Back then a fellow named Frank Hyle formed the National Ding-a-Ling Club. An astonishing 871 people joined up that first year, and the date to call friends and call family—December 12—is now observed annually.

Starting the convo

One phone conversation starter could be about recalling old seasonal songs or movies that have “bell” or “bells” in the title.

You can also see if there’s something special they’ve always wanted to do during the holidays.

Ask how they’re feeling to see if there’s anything you can do to make this time of year a bit jollier. My sister-in-law was thrilled when I suggested we give each other the gift of not exchanging gifts this year.

Talk about something funny or special that your loved one did that made a lasting impression on you. They may not have thought about that moment in years, but everyone enjoys a good chuckle or hearing that they are thought of fondly.

Recalling the good ol’ days

Speaking of the good ol’ days, once upon a time you simply dialed a number you’d memorized. Now, with all of our data requiring logins and passwords, it’s a wonder we can remember anything. But keeping our memories engaged is important.

And, we tend to memorize numbers that matter to us, like our favorite restaurant or our personal doctor. More than half of an Ooma Nation poll said they’ve memorized five or more phone numbers—and, as you’d expect, these are the numbers we tend to call most often: spouse or significant other, parents, kids or grandchildren, and other family members, which is handy if you lose your smartphone or drop it into a ditch.

Fear of making telephone calls

While anxiety ranks right up there with loneliness, bear in mind that some people are actually afraid to talk on the phone. Having to speak on the phone seems as scary to them as speaking from a stage would be for many people.

If this is you, prepping for a conversation on the telephone can help reduce your phone call anxiety. Plan what to say and rehearse the call beforehand. It’s also helpful to smile. A smile can be felt—even over the phone—and smiling “tricks” your mind into a state of happiness and relaxation. And, like most scary experiences, once you’ve begun to master your fear of phone calls, it’ll get easier.

Scam alert! Is it really your grandchild calling?

There’s an important caveat about holiday phone calls, particularly for older adults: Before you talk with family, say something personal so they are quite certain it’s really you on the line, and not a scammer. With sophisticated technology, phone scammers can use an audio clip of your grandchild’s voice that they’ve pulled from a video, for example, and clone it so that they sound exactly like your grandchild.

Phone convos across the globe

What if your nearest and dearest are actually far away geographically? No worries. With Ooma’s low international calling rates and unlimited international calling plans, you can make international calls from your home phone or Ooma mobile app without watching the clock. You can choose from several different plans, depending on just how far-flung your network is.

Whatever plan you choose, you can call friends, call family, and talk on the phone to your heart’s content over the holidays. With Ooma phone service quality, it will sound like they’re right next door.

So are you going to check in on your friends during the holidays? If you typically text, they may be so thrilled to get a call from you that it’ll be a phone conversation for the books!