10 Ways Technology Is Transforming the Holidays

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New Services Let Families Overcome Distance to Celebrate

9.Tele-Celebrating With Skype, Video Conferencing

Nothing beats being home for the holidays. But, now, families that can't be together, can at least celebrate together virtually.

Thanks to video-conferencing programs like Skype and Google video chat, all it takes is a webcam and Internet connection for families to overcome distances to celebrate.

For the holidays, a few companies are offering free or reduced-cost services. Between Dec. 17 and Jan. 2, video-conferencing company ooVoo will let up to six users participate in the same video call for as long as they like, at no cost. (Normally the company charges for calls with that number of people.)

Skype is partnering with the USO to help military families keep in touch during the holidays. Service personnel visiting USO centers in the Asia-Pacific can make free voice and video calls home via Skype.

10. Connected Cooks in the Kitchen

Extra cooks are not always welcome in the kitchen. And, especially around the holidays, traditional family recipes take center stage.

But new websites and iPhone applications are making it easier than ever for holiday cooks -- both professional and amateur -- to exchange homegrown tips and recipes.

Epicurious and AllRecipes offer free iPhone and iPod Touch applications that not only include easy to find recipes, but also user reviews of each one.

And the Food Network in the Kitchen application brings the channel's top chefs, like Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, into your kitchen for $1.99.

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