"Grandpa, you're on mute."

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family connecting with loved ones for a virtual thanksgiving
Credit: LightFieldStudios via Getty Images

If there's any person, entity, or business that's truly had a good year in 2020, it's video conferencing software company Zoom. With everything from important work meetings to birthday parties with friends taking place over video chats this year, Zoom's been such a vital part of pandemic life that the whole concept of “Zoom fatigue” entered into the lexicon this year. 

Now, in celebration of their good year and in an attempt to make everyone else's suck just a little bit less, Zoom recently announced that they would help families virtually gather together this Thanksgiving by doing away with the usual 40 minute limit on meetings hosted by those using the free version of their software. Beginning at Midnight EST on November 26 through 6 a.m. on Black Friday, Zoom is letting everyone video chat for as long as they'd like during this year of TFH (Thanksgiving from home) with no paid membership required. 

The move, billed “as a thank you to our customers” is aimed at bringing families together at a time where Thanksgiving travel could be risky amid the pandemic. Current CDC guidelines note that “celebrating virtually or with members of your own household” poses the lowest risk for transmitting Covid-19, so there's no doubt going to be many extended families who will have to go the Zoom route. 

Obviously it's not as ideal as gathering together in-person, but it's good to know that you can set up a laptop or tablet at the table and at least kind of pretend that you're all spending quality time together without using a timer to count down 40 minutes. Even better, you can leave it running and just yell at each other about football remotely, too. 

So a Thanksgiving tip of the pilgrim's cap to Zoom for doing the right thing and not forcing families to sign up for paid memberships. Of course, surly teens will likely be performing unpaid labor when it comes to making sure their grandparents are set up on Zoom on Thanksgiving day, but that's a different story.